A "mysterious squid" -- big and red -- washed up on a beach in Carteret County, North Carolina. Someone found it, still alive, and set it back in the water after taking some photos of it. Squid scientists later decided it was a diamondback squid.
So, you think that O'Shea might know the identity of the squid Carey Walker found on the Portsmouth Island Beach, just by looking at an emailed photo or two? Indeed, he did. After a couple of days of back-and-forth emails -- it can be difficult to connect consistently with a world-famous man who lives now in Australia -- he reported that, while unusual to be seen on beaches in our parts, this was not a particularly unusual squid: It was a diamondback squid, known in scientific nomenclature as Thysanoteuthis rhombus.
T. rhombus, also known as the diamond squid or diamondback squid, is a large species that grows to about 100 centimeters in length, which translates to about 39 inches, and ranges in weight from 20 to 30 kilograms, which translates to 44 to 50 pounds. Which means that, if nothing else, Carey Walker is pretty good at estimating the weight and length of big red squids he picks up on remote beaches.
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.
Reuters reporters Stephen J. Adler, Jeff Mason, and Steve Holland:
President Donald Trump on Thursday reflected on his first 100 days in office with a wistful look at his life before the White House.
“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump told Reuters in an interview. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”
As with his admission two weeks ago that after just 10 minutes with President Xi Jinping of China, he realized he was completely ignorant of the complexity of Chinese-North Korean relations, what’s striking here isn’t that Trump was so ignorant that he thought being president of the United States would be easier than hosting a game show. It’s that he’s so militantly ignorant that he’s not embarrassed to admit this. He’s a laughingstock around the world.
More than five months after his victory and two days shy of the 100-day mark of his presidency, the election is still on Trump’s mind. Midway through a discussion about Chinese President Xi Jinping, the president paused to hand out copies of what he said were the latest figures from the 2016 electoral map.
“Here, you can take that, that’s the final map of the numbers,” the Republican president said from his desk in the Oval Office, handing out maps of the United States with areas he won marked in red. “It’s pretty good, right? The red is obviously us.”
He had copies for each of the three Reuters reporters in the room.
The election is old news to everyone but Trump, because it’s the only thing he can hold onto as any form of success. Again, the fact that he’s still obsessed with it is bad enough, but even worse is that lacks the self-awareness to realize that perseverating on it in an interview with Reuters — with prepared printed material in triplicate — lays his pathological narcissism bare for the world to see.
Matt Taibbi, writing for Rolling Stone:
Of those bad actors, there is a subset of still-worse actors, who not only sold these toxic investments to institutional investors like pension funds and Fannie and Freddie, but helped get a generation of home borrowers — often minorities and the poor — into deadly mortgages that ended up wiping out their equity.
Phillips, who helped Fannie and Freddie into substantial losses and worked with predatory firms like New Century, belongs in this second category. As Beavis and Butthead would put it, Phillips comes from the “ass of the ass.”
Donald Trump, then, has essentially picked one of the last people on earth who should be allowed to help reshape the mortgage markets. This is like putting a guy who sold thousand-dollar magazine subscriptions to your grandmother on the telephone in charge of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or the A.A.R.P.
Jess Joho, investigating for Motherboard:
As the story goes, one night in 2010 or so, Kalanick was with friend and Uber investor Chris Sacca. Sacca’s dad requested a game of “Wii Tennis” and Kalanick allegedly blew them all away before revealing he was tied for 2nd best in the world.
The first problem here is that “Wii Tennis” is not a video game that exists. I reached out to several Uber representatives a few times for clarity on this but the company replied that, “we’re not commenting.” When we asked Nintendo of America for help in identifying this game, it said “We have nothing to announce on this topic.”
Based on this story’s many retellings (and the images used whenever it makes media rounds throughout the past couple of years), most people assume that they actually meant Wii Sports, released in 2006, which included a tennis mini-game. It was also an insanely popular game that sold over 82 million copies and was packed in with the Wii in North America, so it makes sense that Sacca’s dad had it. The problem here is that Wii Sports had no online play of any kind and therefore no leaderboard to keep track of the best players in the world.
“Second-best in the world” is such a funny thing to lie about.
But I have to point out: it’s Chris Sacca, not Kalanick, who looks like he’s full of shit in this telling. As far as I can tell, this wasn’t a story Kalanick used to pump himself up but rather a story Sacca used to pump Uber up by painting Kalanick as a superman. Sacca owns 4 percent of Uber.
Christina of Paint The Photography has shared a story about her 13-year-old son Antony and 5-year-old daughter Anabel (aka Belle) that is pretty much guaranteed to make you cry.
Christina told Bored Panda that the inspiration for the photo shoot came when her son spied a Prince Charming costume during a recent shopping excursion. He wanted to get the costume to surprise Belle as a gift for her birthday. That’s adorable, but it’s the backstory that really gets me:
There’s something to be said about brotherly love, and the strength of a sibling bond. My 13 year old son Anthony struggles with depression. It has been a battle for him for some time now, and it isn’t always easy for him to be light and joyful… Enter Belle. Anabel, more lovingly referred to as Belle (yes, like the princess) is Anthony’s 5 year old sister. She is a carefree, effervescent, bouncing ball of sunshine. She has a fairy like quality about her, and makes friends wherever she goes. However, her best friend is Anthony. They have an unshakable sibling bond that stems from the light that she bring to him when he finds himself in dark places.
Anthony and Belle are the closest among all 7 of my children. He watches movies with her, he takes her skateboarding, and at night he tucks her into bed. They have a little ritual to ward off her bad dreams at bedtime, where he pretends to sprinkle “magic salt” on her head to protect her from nightmares.
Now, try and look through those tears to check out the rest of the photos:
Researchers have configured two computers to talk to each other using a laser and a scanner.
Scanners work by detecting reflected light on their glass pane. The light creates a charge that the scanner translates into binary, which gets converted into an image. But scanners are sensitive to any changes of light in a room -- even when paper is on the glass pane or when the light source is infrared -- which changes the charges that get converted to binary. This means signals can be sent through the scanner by flashing light at its glass pane using either a visible light source or an infrared laser that is invisible to human eyes.
There are a couple of caveats to the attack -- the malware to decode the signals has to already be installed on a system on the network, and the lid on the scanner has to be at least partially open to receive the light. It's not unusual for workers to leave scanner lids open after using them, however, and an attacker could also pay a cleaning crew or other worker to leave the lid open at night.
The setup is that there's malware on the computer connected to the scanner, and that computer isn't on the Internet. This technique allows an attacker to communicate with that computer. For extra coolness, the laser can be mounted on a drone.
A supposedly opulent music festival on a private island in the Bahamas, which was plugged as an unprecedented V.I.P. event by Instagram influencers including Kendall Jenner and Emily Ratajkowski, descended into dysfunction and disarray as soon as it began on Thursday and has since been postponed indefinitely, organizers said.
Sounds like an incredible scam. Tickets sold for $1,000 to $12,000 for the festival.
My thanks to Letter Opener for sponsoring The Loop this week.
Working together with Windows users shouldn’t be problematic at all. Still, some email messages can not be natively read by the Mac and are packed into Winmail.dat or MSG files that have to be extracted and displayed somehow. Letter Opener for macOS does that with a simple double-click!
The plugin to stop the Winmail.dat file flood for good.
If Winmail.dat files are a reoccurring problem, Letter Opener for macOS Mail is the solution. Installed into Mail it opens and displays the files directly inside Apples Mail application, so the user can forget about Winmail.dat files entirely.
Our Nerd Approved / TeePublic shirt store is full of nerdy designs from the best independent artists and they’re all on sale for just $14!
But that’s not all—everything in the store has been massively discounted including phone cases, wall art hoodies and more.
So head on over to the store and grab some shirts at a discount while you still can.
I love my AirPods. I am happy with the sound quality and I love the convenience and the cleverness of the design. Clearly, a tremendous amount of thought has been put into the many and varied use AirPod use cases:
- Open the case near your iPhone and you are connected automatically.
- Pull an AirPod out of your ear and the music or video you are playing pauses.
- Drop the AirPods back in the case and they charge automatically.
- Double-tap to interact with Siri.
There are two use cases, however, that just don’t work for me.
- Skip to the next song (something I do reasonably often)
- Adjust the volume (either due to a song being mixed loud, or my circumstances/environment changing)
In either case, you either need to pull your phone out of your pocket, fire up an Apple Watch app, or you need to ask Siri to help. While these are all fine solutions, they are far less efficient than the solutions I’ve long had with my wired EarPods. The buttons on the wired EarPods are easy to find, very responsive, and instantly let me adjust the volume or skip a song. They also let me pause my music, but that’s less of an issue here, since pulling an AirPod out of my ear works just fine.
I was thinking about how Apple might address this, and I had a thought. What if Apple added buttons to the outside of the AirPods case that mimic the buttons on the wired EarPods? One button could pause play (single press) or skip to the next song (double-press). Another button pair could raise or lower the volume.
I realize this would raise the cost of the AirPods and the complexity of manufacture. I’m guessing it would require the addition of Bluetooth to the case itself, so this might be a non-starter, price-wise. Maybe there’s a better solution. Perhaps Apple could add gestures to the AirPods, though with the difficulty people have with the Siri gesture, not sure how well that would work. Buttons to the AirPods?
No matter the solution, I do miss those buttons and would love to see some sort of fix.
“She kept going, and then I heard a crunch, and I was like ugh, now my car’s going to be in the shop for like two weeks this sucks. The next thought I had was you’re upside down.”
College student Casey Bennett was stuck in his car, had the wherewithal to press and hold his Apple Watch side button to place a call to 911. Great story.
An image from GameStop Ireland’s Star Wars: Battlefront II pre-order page has revealed an awesome new look for Rey in The Last Jedi. Take a closer look below.
The outfits will be skins that you can get in GameStop’s The Last Jedi Heroes pre-order bonus, but the fine print notes that the images are “movie production stills” and “not actual in-game images”. Rey’s outfit also appears to match the one that can be partially viewed in previous, official announcements and t-shirt releases.
At any rate, we love the look. It’s retains some elements of her scavenger outfit while tossing in some Jedi-style. Start prepping your cosplay now.
Musical.ly lets its users create and share their own music videos, using snippets of songs. Starting on Friday, Apple Music will be the service that supplies the songs, replacing U.K.-based provider 7digital, according to people familiar with the companies’ plans.
If you’ve never experienced Musical.ly, check out the video embedded in the main Loop post. Some of these are very good. I can see the attraction, the fun of putting one of these together. Good connection for Apple.
The white Lexus RX450h SUV emerged from an Apple facility this week and was kitted out with an array of sensors, according to a person who saw the vehicle and provided photos to Bloomberg News. The sensors included Velodyne Lidar Inc.’s top-of-the-range 64-channel lidar, at least two radar and a series of cameras. The sensors appear to be products bought off the shelf from suppliers, rather than custom-made, according to an industry expert who saw the photos.
Picture and animated GIF embedded in the Bloomberg piece.
The company has recently held discussions with payments industry partners about introducing its own Venmo competitor, according to multiple sources familiar with the talks. The service would allow iPhone owners to send money digitally to other iPhone owners, these people said.
Not sure I see the logic in offering a Venmo-type service if it is not universal. When I need to send someone money, I never want to check to see if they have an iPhone first.
Last month we revealed that Unicorn Lashes were prepping a set of mermaid-themed makeup brushes for a summer release. It appears that they had the idea first, but Glamour Shop B has swooped in and beaten them to the market with their own six-piece set.
The brushes are available for pre-order in two finishes for $27. Here’s pearl turquoise:
And pearl rainbow:
GSB’s design is more fairy tale-ish than the more “realistic” versions that Unicorn Lashes are prepping:
Nikkei Asian Review:
Chairman Terry Gou of key iPhone assembler Hon Hai Precision Industry, also known as Foxconn Technology Group, is set to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington on Thursday, according to people familiar with the plan.
The sources did not disclose details of the first-ever encounter between the two. But with Trump’s persistent pledge to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S., and Gou’s dogged determination to acquire the memory chip business of embattled Japanese conglomerate Toshiba, the two will likely exchange their views on related issues.
A lot at stake here. Trump wants Apple to build in the US. Lots of resistance to that, both in terms of logistics and financial impact.