Microsoft swears it's not coming for your data with its scan for old Office versions

Don't mind us, we'll just have a quick look for unsupported installs and then disappear, we promise

Microsoft wants everyone to know that it isn't looking to invade their privacy while looking through their Windows PCs to find out-of-date versions of Office software.…

Fast-evolving Prilex POS malware can block contactless payments

... forcing users to insert their cards into less-secure PIN systems

The reasons businesses and consumers like contactless payment transactions – high security and speed – are what make those systems bad for cybercriminals.…

Friday Squid Blogging: Studying the Colossal Squid

A survey of giant squid science.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

I cannot handle my son's crying. I'm an adult male btw.

Love this personal essay about the stress of parenting This is the only advice we've ever found to be actually useful: The Bucket System. You each have a 'bucket,' and the more stressed and overwhelmed you are, the fuller your bucket is. When the bucket gets full, like you can't handle anymore: that's it. There's nothing you can do. You're overwhelmed, game over, and the best thing for everyone is if you take a break. At any point either one of you can say, 'My bucket is full," and the other person knows that means they need to step up, no questions asked, so the full-bucketee can take some time away.

Drug Decriminalization in Oregon

After rocky start, hopes up in Oregon drug decriminalization In November 2020, Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 110, which made it the first state in the union to broadly decriminalize drug possession, a response to an untenable status quo. In addition, the measure pledged to support the expansion of drug treatment and harm reduction programs in the state through funds from cannabis taxes.

Oregon decriminalized drugs in 2020 - how's it going

Oregon's drug decriminalization gets poor marks on audit measure

Comparing Oregon's Measure 110 to decriminalization in Portugal

The Technicolor Phase

Thomas Hawk posted a photo:

The Technicolor Phase

I'll See You in October

Thomas Hawk posted a photo:

I'll See You in October

Vaccine Makers Kept $1.4 Billion in Prepayments for Canceled Covid Shots for the World's Poor

As global demand for Covid-19 vaccines dries up, the program responsible for vaccinating the world's poor has been urgently negotiating to try to get out of its deals with pharmaceutical companies for shots it no longer needs. From a report: Drug companies have so far declined to refund $1.4 billion in advance payments for now-canceled doses, according to confidential documents obtained by The New York Times. Gavi, the international immunization organization that bought the shots on behalf of the global Covid vaccination program, Covax, has said little publicly about the costs of canceling the orders. But Gavi financial documents show the organization has been trying to stanch the financial damage. If it cannot strike a more favorable agreement with another company, Johnson & Johnson, it could have to pay still more.

Gavi is a Geneva-based nongovernmental organization that uses funds from donors including the U.S. government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide childhood immunizations to lower-income nations. Early in the pandemic, it was charged with buying Covid vaccinations for the developing world -- armed with one of the largest-ever mobilizations of humanitarian funding -- and began negotiations with the vaccine makers. Those negotiations went badly at the outset. The companies initially shut the organization out of the market, prioritizing high-income countries that were able to pay more to lock up the first doses. [...] The vaccine makers have brought in more than $13 billion from the shots that have been distributed through Covax. Under the contracts, the companies are not obligated to return the prepayments Gavi gave them to reserve vaccines that were ultimately canceled.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Air Pollution Causes Chess Players To Make More Mistakes, Study Finds

Chess experts make more mistakes when air pollution is high, a study has found. From a report: Experts used computer models to analyse the quality of games played and found that with a modest increase in fine particulate matter, the probability that chess players would make an error increased by 2.1 percentage points, and the magnitude of those errors increased by 10.8%. The paper, published in the journal Management Science, studied the performance of 121 chess players in three seven-round tournaments in Germany in 2017, 2018, and 2019, comprising more than 30,000 chess moves.

The researchers compared the actual moves the players made against the optimal moves determined by the powerful chess engine Stockfish. In the tournament venues, the researchers attached three web-connected air quality sensors to measure carbon dioxide, PM2.5 concentrations, and temperature. Each tournament lasted eight weeks, meaning players faced a variety of air conditions. Fine particulate matter, or PM2.5, refers to tiny particles 2.5 microns or less in diameter, which are often expelled by burning matter such as that from car engines, coal plants, forest fires, and wood burners. Further reading: Study Reveals Links Between UK Air Pollution and Mental Ill-Health.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


h_tomo has added a photo to the pool: