Giant Hard Drives Are Coming 💽

Plus: Pixel-art space games, open source farms, and plenty of cyber

Hello, dear reader! I hope you’re well. There are more deep thoughts in this edition than usual, I think. As always, feel free to reply and LMK what you’re digging.

Playlist

I’ve been listening to primarily a combination of Beats In Space Radio’s back catalogue and some ambient music on Spotify. If you want more specific suggestions, here you go! The first is ambient, the second is an eclectic mix of electronica.

Solarpunk Stuff

UNDER A STAR CALLED SUN by cecile richard

A delightful pixel-art game by a prolific programmer. I found out about this game when I looked up the framework that it was made with, Bitsy. If you want to check out other games like this, here’s more games made with Bitsy.

Kids are taking governments to court over climate. And they are starting to win. - CNN

Unfortunately, I have more faith in the court system than the US Congress to change laws right now… so I’m hopeful that these judicial wins can be replicated and expanded in my home country.

Linux Foundation starts AgStack, world's first open-source agtech initiative

This is an early stage project, but I’m glad to see the open source ideology taking over more industries. In this case, farming!

Culture & Philosophy

The Jewish Roots of Old Bay Seasoning | The Nosher

I was surprised to learn the history of Old Bay Seasoning is the old tale of the inventive Jewish immigrant! I’ve since bought some Old Bay hot sauce and I recommend it highly.

Opinion | Your Friend Doesn’t Want the Vaccine. What Do You Say? - The New York Times

NYT makes another cool interactive piece here—I appreciate the gentle guidance towards which techniques might be most effective for motivating folks to change their minds.

Why Your ‘True Self’ Is An Illusion

An interesting investigation into how the idea of the “true self” is different among people based on their beliefs.

The self is not singular but a fluid network of identities | Aeon Essays

Continuing the theme of “what is the self”, this essay argues that one’s self is actually a network of different identities. I like this idea because it incorporates how we grow and change while maintaining the idea of one continuous self.

Tech, AI, Cyber

HAMR and MAMR will bring us giant hard drives | Engadget

I’m sort of a tech-announcement skeptic, but I was swayed this time. The article details new hard disk technologies which have the potential to increase data density significantly. This time, it’s already being shipped, and isn’t pure research.

Try This One Weird Trick Russian Hackers Hate – Krebs on Security

TL;DR: Enabling the Russian (or similar) keyboard will prevent most Russian-language malware from executing on your machine!

Why Computers Won’t Make Themselves Smarter | The New Yorker

One of the core tenets of the idea that we’re nearing a technological singularity is the proposition that AI systems will be able to increase their capabilities in the near future. This piece argues that this concept is fundamentally flawed. What do you think?

PortDoor: New Chinese APT Backdoor Attack Targets Russian Defense Sector

I sometimes think of Chinese and Russian cyber threat actors as being allied against the US, but this instance amusingly reminds us that they are still separate nations with their own priorities.

How China turned a prize-winning iPhone hack against the Uyghurs | MIT Technology Review

The Chinese government has begun to retain security researchers’ vulnerabilities and is now actively deploying them. The speed of turning research into a hack that’s being used is what’s particularly surprising about this story.

Apple's cooperation with authoritarian governments · Jesse Squires

The uncomfortable fact is that multinational corporations like Apple are doing business in other countries with repressive regimes. In such cases, Apple plays by the home country’s rules, but should they? There are several citizen-based accountability projects tracking these actions, at least.

Google's unusual move to shut down an active counterterrorism operation being conducted by a Western democracy | MIT Technology Review

The decision to block an “expert” level cyberattack has caused controversy inside Google after it emerged that the hackers in question were working for a US ally.