Attention Economy – September 26, 2011

  • The Hacker Toolkit: Social Engineering – On The Media 092311
    Alex Goldman: “There’s an air of alchemy and mystery that surrounds the world of hacking, because it’s perceived as being so technical. That’s part of what makes hacking seem so illicit to non-hackers. But some of the most well known hackers have obtained information using an incredibly low-tech method. That method is called “social engineering.” Put simply, social engineering is the process of fooling people into divulging sensitive information. In a lot of ways, it’s not too far off from calling your high school pretending to be your parents in order to excuse an absence. If you can convince people that you are entitled to access certain information, or even trick them into creating situations where you can get access to it, you’re a successful social engineer.”
  • Word Watch: Hacker – On The Media 092311
    This year we’ve heard stories about hacking, from The News of the World scandal to the exploits of groups like Anonymous and Lulzsec. But the way the media uses the word hack diverges sharply from the way it’s used by actual hackers. On the Media Producer Alex Goldman explores the history of the word and how its meaning has shifted over time.
  • The Hacker Law – On The Media 092311
    Passed in 1986, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act was specifically meant to target hacking. But in recent years it’s been used to prosecute a much wider swath of behavior, some of which has nothing to do with hacking. Marcia Hofmann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation talks to Brooke about the perils of having such a vague law on the books.
  • Death for Blogging – On The Media 092311
    Last week the mutilated bodies of a man and a woman were found dangling from a pedestrian overpass in the Mexican boarder town of Nuevo Laredo, with notes explicitly warning that those posting the wrong things on the internet will share the same fate. As Drug cartels in Mexico turn their sights on blogs and twitter feeds, the mostly-anonymous social media may have an advantage that eludes mainstream journalism. Louis Nevaer of New America Media discusses the drug wars and the possibility of a newly empowered Mexican social body.
  • Mexican Drug Cartels Now Menace Social Media : NPR 092311
    In areas where they are powerful, the Mexican drug cartels silenced the mainstream media by threatening and killing journalists. Now they seem to be extending the practice to social media. Many Mexicans have had to rely on social media to find out what’s going on in their cities after newspapers, TV and radio stations stopped reporting on drug-related violence. But last week, the mangled bodies of a young man and woman were hung from a highway bridge in Nuevo Laredo along with a sign that read: “This is what happens to people who post funny things on the Internet. Pay attention.”
  • Neurotic Physiology blog at Scientopia.org
    Scicurious has a PhD in Physiology from a Southern institution. She is currently a post-doctoral researcher at a celebrated institution that is very fancy and somewhere else. Her professional interests are in neurophysiology, specifically the interactions of neurotransmitter systems. Having obtained her PhD, she wishes to further her career in science writing, education, and research. She often blogs in the third person.
  • Spark 155 – September 18 & 21, 2011 | Spark
    Do you know anyone who staunchly refuses to carry a cell phone? Or simply won’t sign up for a Facebook account? Turns out, there’s a name for that: “technology refusal.” Nora interviewed Alice Marwick, who studies social software at Microsoft Research and recently wrote a blog post titled “If you don’t like it, don’t use it. It’s that simple.”
  • ‘The Swerve’: The Ideas That Rooted The Renaissance : NPR 092011
    Stephen Greenblatt chronicles the unlikely discovery of Lucretius’ poem “On the Nature of Things” — by a 15th-century Italian book hunter. “The Swerve” is a masterfully written meditation on the fragile inheritance of ideas. | “As Greenblatt’s story reminds us, there have been other, much grimmer times in history when books as objects very nearly disappeared — without Kindles, Nooks or iPads to take their place. At the center of The Swerve is the forgotten story of a 15th-century Italian book hunter named Poggio Bracciolini, who set out on several expeditions throughout monasteries on the Continent and England, hoping to discover some lost classical texts. Poggio served as scribe and secretary in the Papal Court, a place he cynically thought of as, “The Lie Factory.” But his passion was for books, especially for the ancient authors, copies of whose books, if they survived at all, had been squirreled away in monasteries.” [includes link to book excerpt]
  • This Pig Wants To Party: Maurice Sendak’s Latest : NPR 092011
    “Bumble-ardy” is a deeply imaginative tale about an orphaned pig who longs for a birthday party. Sendak, who is 83, wrote and illustrated the book while caring for his longtime partner, who died of cancer in 2007. “I did Bumble-ardy to save myself,” Sendak says. “I did not want to die with him.”» E-Mail This » Add to Del.icio.us
  • Freakonomics: Where have all the hitchhikers gone? | Marketplace From American Public Media 092111
    Besides the fear of an axe murderer, there are valid reasons why hitchhiking has died off. Freakonomics Radio’s Stephen Dubner discusses those reasons and tells us why you should care. “If you care even a little bit about transportation, about cost and congestion and accident risk, carbon emissions, all of that, you’ve got to be depressed to learn the following thing — about 80 percent of all passenger-vehicle capacity in this country goes unused.”
  • Bioethicist HPV Bet Ends Without Bachmann Acknowledgement – Bloomberg 092211
    Bioethicist Art Caplan said his challenge to Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann for evidence that a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer caused mental retardation ended without Bachmann acknowledging it. Caplan, director of the center for bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, offered to pay $10,000 to a charity of Bachmann’s choice if she could find such a patient by noon today. Bachman claimed in television interviews on Sept. 13 that a woman told her that the shot, usually given at age 12, triggered mental retardation in the woman’s daughter.
  • Study: Women’s Memory More Receptive To Low Voice : NPR 092011
    Melissa Block and Lynn Neary learn from researcher Kevin Allan of the University of Aberdeen King’s College in Scotland that women remember better when spoken to in a low-pitch voice. This helps women to pick a suitable partner.
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