The Unintended Consequences of Online Key Duplication Services


Mon, July 28th, 2014 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

On Wired, Andy Greenberg looks at the growth of online services that are able to duplicate a key with a few simple photographs taken from an iPhone. While the services claim to be "like a 'forgot my password' function for physical security," unfortunately they "also enable jerks like me to steal your keys any time they get a moment alone with them."

Services like KeyMe, along with competitors like KeysDuplicated and the Belgian Keysave, promise to forever solve the problem of lockouts and lost keys using clever combinations of smartphone scans, automated key-cutting machines and 3D-printing. Like a “forgot my password” function for physical security, they let you upload your coded chunks of metal to the cloud, where you can access and duplicate them, or even email them to a friend staying at your place.

Such services also enable jerks like me to steal your keys any time they…


Find Grandpa's Photos

Help discover where these great photos were taken


Mon, July 28th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Stephen Clarke, also known as Grandpa, travelled the world for work and was an awesome photographer. When the photo resurfaced, Grandpa was asked about them. Unfortunately, Grandpa can't quite remember where all these great photos were taken. Scroll through the beautiful photography and if you recognise any place, let Grandpa know.

This is Grandpa, otherwise known as Stephen Clarke. He was great at so many things. One of those was being a Grandpa. He was a WWII Air Force navigator, a husband, a Dad and we also discovered he was a great photographer. He worked his way up in numerous management roles to be a Buyer at a small jewelry franchise in Australia called ‘Prouds Jewelers’. In this job he was lucky enough to go overseas a few times to visit suppliers. He'd take his trusty Voightlander camera on these trips and take photos along the way. Each time…


Recycling Bin Gives Food to Stray Animals in Exchange for Bottles


Mon, July 28th, 2014 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

In response to Turkey's overwhelming stray dog population, a new system of smart recyclying boxes by Pugedon, takes recyclables and, in exchange, automatically provides food and water for the animals.

The device encourages passersby to recycle and look at our animal co-inhabitants with different eyes. The principle of the machine is very simple – it has containers for water (you can pour the remaining water from your bottle before recycling it) and for dog food. A fixed ratio of kibbles is dispensed when a bottle is recycled. The project is independent from the government and covers the cost of the food with the recycled bottles.


Don’t Fly Drones Here

Open-Data Map Shows Where You Can and Cannot Fly a Drone


Sun, July 27th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

Created by Mapbox's data analyst Bobby Sudekum, the Don't Fly Drones Here website provides a map showcasing where in the United States and some parts of Canada you can and cannot fly a drone. Downtown Toronto is pretty much off-limits due to Billy Bishop's island airport.

Unmanned drones like quadcopters and fixed-wing aircraft are at the center of new airspace regulations by the FAA. While the FAA deliberates on rules and regulations, states, cities and other national organizations have implemented their own no-fly zones. To help people find safe places to fly, we’ve mapped established no-fly areas where drones are not permitted around all major airports, military bases, and national parks across the country. All the no-fly area data we collected to make these maps is now open data under CC-0.


Upcycling Old Mobile Phones to Monitor Illegal Logging


Sun, July 27th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Make brings to attention the work of Topher White, who has turned old mobile phones into a rainforest monitoring system. Using solar power to keep them charged and "dirt-cheap mobile plans available overseas," the cellphones can detect the presence of chainsaws and send alerts. He is currently seeking financial support on Kickstarter to build more of the devices to deploy in the Amazon forest.

Rainforest Connection (RFCx) transforms recycled smartphones into autonomous, solar-powered listening devices that can detect and pinpoint signs of environmental destruction activity—such as chainsaws, gunshots and animal distress calls—at great distance.

Current detection systems rely on satellites which show rainforest destruction days or weeks too late. Our system provides the world's first real-time logging/poaching detection system. We can pinpoint deforestation activity the moment it begins, while simultaneously streaming the data openly and immediately to anyone around the world.


StreetScore: Predicting the Perceived Safety of One Million Streetscapes


Sat, July 26th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

Using a computational model, the StreetScore website lets you pick a location on a map and show off just how safe it would be perceived by a person. More information on the paper here (PDF).

StreetScore is an algorithm that assigns a score to a street view based on how safe it looks to a human — but using a computer (see FAQ). This website is a collection of map visualizations of perceived safety of street views from cities in the US as predicted by StreetScore. We will be releasing a map of perceived safety for a new city each week. The StreetScore algorithm was created by Nikhil Naik as part of a collaboration between the Macro Connections group and the Camera Culture group at MIT Media Lab. Jade Philipoom created the visualizations presented in the StreetScore website.


"Almost all dinosaurs were probably covered in feathers"


Sat, July 26th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The discovery of a new dinosaur specie, Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus, appears to indicate that almost all dinosaurs were covered in feathers.

"But the new Siberian fossils are the best example yet that some ornithischian [beaked] dinosaurs had feathers, so it wasn't only the theropods that had downy coats," Brusatte says.

"This does mean that we can now be very confident that feathers weren't just an invention of birds and their closest relatives, but evolved much deeper in dinosaur history," he adds. "I think that the common ancestor of dinosaurs probably had feathers, and that all dinosaurs had some type of feather, just like all mammals have some type of hair."

Even so, Godefroit suggests that the largest dinosaurs likely had the fewest feathers, as they wouldn't have needed them for insulation. "Just like elephants in Africa don't need fur," he says.


Hotel Wifi Test

Book Your Hotel Based on WiFi Quality


Fri, July 25th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

In this day and age of being constantly connected, nothing is more disappointing than finding out that the hotel you're staying in has poor quality WiFi. The goal of Hotel WiFi Test is to let you discover which hotels provide the best quality service for all your Internet needs.

When some of us book hotel rooms, our first thoughts aren’t about whether they have in-room coffee service, or if housekeeping will let have a few extra tiny bottles of shampoo. Instead, our eyes immediately scan for "Free WiFi" somewhere on the booking website. The promise of free WiFi is a big draw in today’s age of constant connectivity. Nothing could be more disheartening than turning on your laptop, only to realize that the hotel’s WiFi is so slow it will take four hours to view the thirty-minute video. You’ve begun to wonder if there’s anyone out there who cares…


"We form a sense of whether a stranger is trustworthy in less than one tenth of a second."


Fri, July 25th, 2014 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

On Research Digest, the psychology of first impressions in a digested form. Did you know that men with shaved heads are seen as more dominant or that faster speakers are judged to be more competent?

Women with more tattoos are assumed to be more promiscuous
Researchers at the University of Liverpool presented undergrads with line drawings of women that varied in the number of visible tattoos. "Results showed that tattooed women were rated as less physically attractive, more sexually promiscuous and heavier drinkers than untattooed women, with more negative ratings with increasing number of tattoos." A more recent study found that men were more likely to approach a woman lying on a beach when she bore a tattoo on her back, and to do so more quickly. Men also estimated they would have more chance of dating or having sex with a woman when she had a tattoo…


Ray, Robot Parking Valet Automatically Finds Parking at German Airport


Fri, July 25th, 2014 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Washington Post looks at Ray, a robot located at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany. It is capable of picking up a car left in a transfer station and park it on behalf of the driver, and returning it exactly when needed. The goal of the project is to get "business travelers in and out of an airport as quickly and easily as possible."

The electric-powered Rays travel at speeds up to 6 mph. Each Ray drives autonomously, guided by laser navigation and mapping software. The Ray knows its exact location thanks to its lasers that bounce off reflectors positioned throughout the garage.

The company behind the technology, Serva Transport Systems, integrates flight and baggage claim data from the airport into its software, so that a Ray will know to have your car waiting at the garage exit by the time you…


Short Documentary on Teddy Gray's Sweet Factory


Fri, July 25th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Filmed and directed by Martin Parr, this short but sweet documentary looks at Teddy Gray’s sweet factory in Dudley in the West Midlands, a family owned business that still makes their candies by hand. If Willy Wonka was real, this would be his factory.

Magnum photographer, Martin Parr returns to using a film camera in this wonderfully engaging documentary about Teddy Gray’s sweet factory in Dudley in the West Midlands.

Established in 1826, Teddy Gray’s has always been a family owned and run business. Five generations have worked and contributed towards the business of keeping the traditional, hand-made methods of sweet making alive.

The film is part of the Black Country Stories body of work commissioned by Multistory to document life in the Black Country by capturing and celebrating the unique mix of communities living in the area…


Bluetooth Enabled Smart Shoes


Fri, July 25th, 2014 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

With the idea that you will "leave your house without your watch or wristband, but you will never leave your house without your shoes," Indian startup Ducere Technologies Pvt. has come up with the smart shoe. The wearable technology, which can sync with the Google maps smartphone app, will "vibrate to tell users when and where to turn to reach their destination."

Just tell your phone where you want to go and then you can leave it in your pocket because the buzzing in your left or right shoe will lead the way.


How to Survive Air Travel

"You are the Dalai Lama."


Thu, July 24th, 2014 21:00 by capnasty NEWS

Amusing and a really pleasurable read by Craig Mod on how to survive air travel. His advice: arrive way early and take things slowly, with stride. Remember: you are like the Dalai Lama.

Arrive so early that a friend will text you, What R U sixty years old? No, you’re not sixty, you’re much older, because the wisdom of the early arrival seems to have eluded even most sixty-year-old travelers.

Authorities recommend arriving two hours before international flights. I say four. Get there four hours before your flight. You are a hundred and fifty years old. Your friends laugh at you. Have patience.

Arrive early and move through the airport like the Dalai Lama. You are in no rush. All obstacles are taken in stride, patiently, with a smile. Approach the nearly empty check-in counter. Walk up and say, I’m a bit early but I’m here to check…


Paletton: Find a Good Colour Scheme


Thu, July 24th, 2014 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

Paletton is a nifty colour scheme picker that lets you pick tasteful colour palettes that work well with each other. From the Color Scheme Designer Blog, explaining proper colour coexistence:

When designing web pages, computer applications, or house interiors, we need to find good color scheme — a set of colors producing the best impression. For every tint there are colors which it can coexist with, and which it can’t. Some combinations are uncomfortable, or disturbing, while others are more pleasant.

Experienced designers choose colors intuitively, many people can smell what colors go together well and what don’t. However, finding the good combination of colors may be sometimes long and gruelling work. The color theory makes the work easier. This tool will find set of colors you can start with, and it may facilitate your looking for the optimal color palette.


Google and the NSA Always Had a Working Relationship


Thu, July 24th, 2014 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Jason Leopold of AlJazeera, emails obtained under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveal that "a year before Snowden became a household name," National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander and Google executives Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt had a "far cozier working relationship [...] than was implied by Silicon Valley brass after last year’s revelations about NSA spying."

[...] by enlisting the NSA to shore up their defenses, those companies may have made themselves more vulnerable to the agency’s efforts to breach them for surveillance purposes.

“I think the public should be concerned about whether the NSA was really making its best efforts, as the emails claim, to help secure enterprise BIOS and mobile devices and not holding the best vulnerabilities close to their chest,” said Nate Cardozo, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s digital civil liberties team.

He doesn’t doubt that…


Tiny World Cup Flags Responsible for an Additional 3 Million Kilograms of Carbon Emissions


Fri, June 27th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to the appropriately named website Tree Hugger, those tiny little flags people sport on their cars during the World Cup reduce vehicle aerodynamics, causing the consumption of an extra 1.22 million litres of fuel.

Fortunately this year the English were dispensed with early and will no longer be doing this. However anyone still sporting a flag and driving at 65 MPH is burning an extra quart of fuel every hour.

A Canadian engineer, Dr. Peter Ostafichuk, told the Vancouver province that the increased drag kicks in as low as 40 km/h (25 MPH) because flags flap at that speed. "You don't have to be driving on the freeway."


Pornhub Would Like You to Stop Uploading Videos of Brazil "Getting F**ked by Germany"


Wed, July 9th, 2014 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

Pornhub has asked its users to stop uploading videos of Germany's World Cup win against Brazil. Reportedly, the porn site found itself flooded with uploads of the highlights of the game, each featuring titles such as 'Young Brazilians get f**ked by entire German soccer team' and other variations that can't be published here.

In the world's continuing mission to completely humiliate Brazil in the wake of its 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat to Germany, adult site Pornhub has allegedly been flooded with highlights of the game.

Footage of the goals bearing the title 'Young Brazilians get f**ked by entire German soccer team' (and other more explicit variants) quickly sprang up following the game (at least according to hundreds of screen grabs circulating Twitter), with the site eventually asking football fans to cease with the gag whilst getting a swipe in at Brazil's performance itself.

"Please stop uploading the…


Washboard: Quarters, Home Delivered, for your Laundry


Fri, June 20th, 2014 07:07 by capnasty NEWS

If you, like our friend Cassidy here, stress over your lack of quarters, stress no more. A web service called Washboard will conveniently ship you one or two rolls of quarters so that you're always ready to do your laundry.

We understand there's a good chance you haven't done laundry in a while and may even be wearing dirty underwear right now. We won't tell your mom, but we will get your first shipment of quarters to you in two days flat. Want to know the best part about that? The shipping's on us. You'll be on your way to good hygiene in no time.


Yo Gabba Gabba: DJ Lance Rock as God

There's a party in my scriptures


Sat, June 21st, 2014 11:00 by Lansdowne Lord ARTICLE

With his 21st century commandments, DJ Lance Rock is the modern representation of God, leaving the image of the bearded old geezer in a toga behind for a cool hipster with real retro-apparel that's both loud and divine.

We are the creatures that inhabit Gabbaland. Pick the one you like the most, that's who you are. Me? I like Plex: he's strong, logical, with far more mad skillz than your average one-eyed walking dildo. I like Brobee the least. But that's us, liking and hating each other, while God looks down on us, impacting our path, our lack of free will.

DJ Lance Rock is the father figure we always wanted in God. There's 6 billion people on this planet, yet all are feeling alone because God is quiet. Too quiet. We get it: juggling the cosmos keeps the big guy in the sky busy all day. Yet God…


Fast Typing Helps Your Mind Produce Knowledge


Fri, June 20th, 2014 16:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Clive Thompson, the faster you write on a keyboard, the better you become at turning the fluid knowledge that is in your head into something that can be understood by others. Meanwhile, the more time you waste on trying to find the next key you're supposed to press, the less higher-function mental power you have to formulate a sentence, causing your idea to slip and maybe even disappear.

When you write something down, either while taking notes or while trying to write your own original thoughts, you’re dealing with what literacy scholars call “transcription fluency”: How quickly and fluidly you can get down—“transcribe”—the stuff that’s in your head. One of the reasons we formally teach handwriting to young children is that you don’t want a bottleneck between the ideas they’re forming and the writing. If you struggle with the act of forming letters and words, you’ve…


ISSpresso: Espresso on the International Space Station


Sun, June 22nd, 2014 21:17 by capnasty NEWS

urdesign brings to attention a project by Lavazza and Argotec, in collaboration with the Italian Space Agency, to bring espresso coffee to the austronauts on the International Space Station.

ISSpresso is the product of a project run by Argotec, the Italian engineering company specialized in the design of aerospace systems and European leader in the preparation of healthy and nutritious foods for in-space consumption, and Lavazza, the historic Italian coffee brand.

ISSpresso is a veritable technological and engineering jewel, able to deliver a perfect espresso in weightless environment. This is why it was selected by the Italian Space Agency to be used aboard the ISS, in the framework of the Request for Expression of Interest that the Agency keeps constantly open to public-private partnership projects and activities to be carried out in the ISS.


2015 Hyundai Genesis Automatically Slows Down Before Speed Cameras


Fri, June 27th, 2014 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Extreme Tech, the 2015 Hyundai Genesis will come with a built-in system that will allow it to automatically slow down in places where it knows there are speed cameras.

Functionally the tech is very simple — and it makes me wonder why no other car maker has implemented it before now. Basically, the 2015 Genesis is loaded up with a big list of speed camera locations. When you come within 800 meters (half a mile) of a speed camera (measured via GPS), the car will show you the speed limit and beep if you’re going too fast. If you’re still breaking the speed limit when you reach the camera, the car’s Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) tech will kick in, ensuring you don’t get a ticket. It isn’t entirely clear where Hyundai is getting its speed camera location data from, but it’s probably SCDB (a crowdsourced speed camera…


A Diamond the Size of Earth, Floating in Space


Thu, June 26th, 2014 22:35 by capnasty NEWS

Space reports on a study published in the Astrophysical Journal on what could be the coldest white dwarf (relatively speaking), cold enough to have become a diamond the size of planet Earth.

When talking about stellar objects, "cold" is a relative term; this white dwarf is still burning at 4,892 degrees Fahrenheit (2,700 degrees Celsius), but that's 5,000 times cooler than the center of Earth's sun.

Such a cool object would be largely crystallized carbon, similar to a diamond, the scientists said. Astronomers have theorized that these objects should be lurking in the universe, but diamond stars are difficult to detect because they are so faint.


Quantum Computers Not That Great Afterall


Thu, June 19th, 2014 08:42 by capnasty NEWS

According to researchers the D-Wave Two device, the first commercially available quantum computer made by Canadian company D-Wave Systems Inc., was found to have no significant perfomance improvements over the classic PC it is trying to replace.

Classical computers perform calculations using bits, whose value can only be 0 or 1. Quantum computers instead use quantum bits, or "qubits," that can exist as a 0 and 1 at the same time. This allows quantum devices to perform multiple calculations at once.

Theoretical physicist Richard Feynman was one of the first to propose the idea of quantum computers in the 1980s, as a way to overcome the limitations of classical computers in simulating quantum systems in physics. Later, mathematician Peter Shor showed that a quantum computer could factor an integer into prime numbers, an ability that could be used to crack encryption algorithms on the Internet.


Posting an Item on the Main Page

Behold! A Subtitle!


Wed, June 11th, 2014 11:59 by capnasty NEWS

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Dreamcatcher Odd Future scenester, roof party butcher Shoreditch Austin VHS photo booth put a bird on it hella lomo. Quinoa Brooklyn Godard YOLO. Messenger bag scenester blog, pork belly tousled fap letterpress trust fund Helvetica roof party semiotics YOLO dreamcatcher. Artisan PBR&B ennui, scenester mixtape gluten-free Brooklyn. YOLO Carles artisan vinyl…


''It costs Southwest about $1.2 million per year in added fuel when every passenger carries a cellphone.''


Mon, June 30th, 2014 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

On FiveThirtyEight, Like Jensen and Brian Yutko look at how much it costs for an airline to fly you and all your luggage. While a cellphone may not seem like a possible culprit in fuel consumption considering the size and weight of the object, add a mobile to every passenger multiplied by every flight and you're looking at staggering costs that range in the millions.

It costs Southwest about $1.2 million per year in added fuel when every passenger carries a cellphone, with larger costs of $7 million if every passenger brings a tablet computer, and $21.6 million if everyone totes a laptop. Using Southwest’s network as a proxy for similar-sized airlines carrying embedded in-flight entertainment systems, we found that fuel costs to carry these systems are approximately $39.7 million per year. When compared with installing embedded systems in the seats, simply handing everyone an iPad when they stepped…


Happy Birthday, CON.CA

Still kicking


Fri, June 6th, 2014 16:00 by N. Leo NEWS

Although bad timing to rebuild the entire site, on June 6th, 2014, CON.CA officially turned 18 -- or wait, is that 20 if you count the pre-web era? Anyway, the rebuild is well on its way, and while several pages are missing and many features common to this site don't work, the fact that you're reading this means that we're doing okay.

On the list of things to do:

  1. Complete the RSS feed so that, you know, it actually works.
  2. Create the index page with new pagination for news and articles.
  3. Create staff index and individual staff pages.
  4. Create category pages so that all articles under each category appear.
  5. Create About & Privacy Policy page.
  6. Repopulate comments and the ability to comment and the Contact page. Yeah, I'm leaving the worse for last.

See you around.


Brazil's Exit From the World Cup Means that its Political Unrest Can Resume


Thu, July 10th, 2014 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

The real issue to Brazil's humiliating loss to Germany is that the Brazilian public lost the one thing distracting them from the political unrest boiling prior to the World Cup. And now they're twice as pissed.

Let's start with the soccer part, because it's a lot simpler. This particular Brazilian squad was constructed with a win-at-all-costs ethos. It's a team focused on positional discipline in the middle of the field, tough tackling, and tactical fouling. Flair is shunted out to the wings. There are no teenage players here to get experience or older veterans trotted out for one last sentimental showing. There are no ancillary benefits or secondary goals. For this group of players, the sole purpose is to win the 2014 World Cup. That's all that matters. And that's why, at 2-0 down to Germany, the house collapsed so astonishingly quickly.

[...] But Brazil the team is gone…


"The ultimate goal of the NSA is total population control"

80% of telephone calls, not just metadata, are recorded and stored in the United States


Fri, July 11th, 2014 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

The Guardian reports on William Binney, "one of the highest-level whistleblowers to ever emerge from the NSA," who has been speaking against mass surveillance at a conference in London organised by the Centre for Investigative Journalism. According to Mr. Binney, the NSA's tactics are not about stopping terrorism, but for total population control. Meanwhile, the U.K. is trying to pass a law forcing telecom companies to log records of customer calls, texts and internet use.

Unlike Snowden, Binney didn’t take any documents with him when he left the NSA. He now says that hard evidence of illegal spying would have been invaluable. The latest Snowden leaks, featured in the Washington Post, detail private conversations of average Americans with no connection to extremism.

It shows that the NSA is not just pursuing terrorism, as it claims, but ordinary citizens going about their daily communications. “The NSA is mass-collecting…


Building CON.CA Version 3.0

Blah blah blah!


Fri, May 30th, 2014 07:00 by capnasty NEWS

There will be no updates to this site for the next little while as the backend (you know, the magic that makes the stuff work) is being written. The database also needs to be converted so that everything is simpler, condensed and faster to load.

This change was a long time waiting to happen and was avoided due to sheer laziness, but with the server and software upgrade causing a vast majority of features to break, it's far easier to start from scratch than to fix all that's wrong. We'll see you soon.