It’s great to see xkcd’s latest cartoon is optimistically updating that depressing calendar from last year.
What’s in a name? #8
What do you get if you cross that guy who accidentally deleted his company with little Bobby Tables?
Company forced to change name that could be used to hack websites – The Guardian
The company now legally known as “THAT COMPANY WHOSE NAME USED TO CONTAIN HTML SCRIPT TAGS LTD” was set up by a British software engineer, who says he did it purely because he thought it would be “a fun playful name” for his consulting business. He now says he didn’t realise that Companies House was actually vulnerable to the extremely simple technique he used, known as “cross-site scripting”, which allows an attacker to run code from one website on another.
The original name of the company was “”›‹SCRIPT SRC=HTTPS://MJT.XSS.HT› LTD”.
THAT COMPANY WHOSE NAME USED TO CONTAIN HTML SCRIPT TAGS LTD – Companies House
Previous company names: [NAME AVAILABLE ON REQUEST FROM COMPANIES HOUSE]
Photo Kevin Ku
Where’s the harm?
Lots of talk about masks and where we should be wearing them. David McCandless and the Information is Beautiful team have updated their set of coronavirus infographics (previously) with this presentation of the risks involved with certain activities.
COVID-19 CoronaVirus infographic datapack – Information is Beautiful
Created by David McCandless, Omid Kashan, Fabio Bergamaschi, Dr Stephanie Starling, Univers Labs, Tom Evans.
It doesn’t quite line up with this infographic from the Texas Medical Association, but I’d say it’s close enough, you get the point.
How risky is visiting a museum? This graphic about COVID-19 transmission provides come answers – Hyperallergic
TexMed characterizes things like getting restaurant takeout, getting gas, and even playing tennis as low-risk activities (two on a scale of one to 10). Grocery shopping, going on a walk with others, visiting a library or museum, and playing golf all fall in the moderate-low range (three to four) — that last is of course great news for the president! Highest-risk activities (eight or more) include, unsurprisingly, sports stadium events and concerts, going to a movie theater, attending religious services with 500+ worshippers, and going to a bar — which was a major cause of outbreak in Michigan last week. Texans shouldn’t despair, though! Based on this graphic, it is still safe to shoot guns in the air (at least with respect to COVID-19 complications), do outdoor line dances in rigid six-feet distance grids, and ride the open range.
Here are some other ways of looking at.
COVID Risk Chart – xkcd
First prize is a free ticket to the kissing booth.
Handy chart – The New Yorker Cartoons on Instagram
A cartoon by @rozchast.
Lots of reasons to wear a mask. But then again…
Why You Don’t Need A Mask – COVID-19
You don’t need a mask because…
I’ve been a fan of the web comic xkcd for a while, so it was sad to read of their recent security troubles.
Hackers breach forum of popular webcomic ‘XKCD’
“The xkcd forums are currently offline. We’ve been alerted that portions of the PHPBB user table from our forums showed up in a leaked data collection. The data includes usernames, email addresses, salted, hashed passwords, and in some cases an IP address from the time of registration,” the forum administrators wrote.
It does give us the opportunity to share one of their comic strips again, though.
See also: password strength, security question, morning news, right click, and of course the big hitters Earth temperature timeline and time.
Pics in space
So black holes are really real, then?
The first photo of a black hole
We have the first photo of a supermassive black hole, from imagery taken two years ago of the elliptical galaxy M87 (in the constellation Virgo) by the Event Horizon Telescope project. The EHT team is a group of 200 scientist that has been working on this project for two decades. The image was created using data captured from radio telescopes from Hawaii to the South Pole and beyond using very long baseline interferometry.
This animation, via the Event Horizon Telescope project website, explains what we’re looking at.
Compare that with this image from 1979 (colourised in 1989), “said to be the the first based on data rather than artistic speculation.”
Groundbreaking 1979 visualization of black hole – Boing Boing
“The final black and white “photographic” image was obtained from these patterns. However, lacking at the time of an appropriate drawing software, I had to create it by hand. Using numerical data from the computer, I drew directly on negative Canson paper with black India ink, placing dots more densely where the simulation showed more light – a rather painstaking process!”
As always with space stuff, I have a problem with scale. This helps enormously, though.
That’s pretty big. But how about these images of Jupiter.
NASA has released new images of Jupiter, taken by the Juno Spacecraft
Favourite comment: “God I wish Vincent van Gogh was alive to see this”
Yes, I can just imagine Van Gogh looking at these with a ‘told you so’ smile on his face. NASA has some more images from their Juno mission.
One of the dangers at just looking at the numbers.
Progress 8 scores for most schools aren’t that different
There were over 300 schools with P8 scores between -0.05 and +0.05 – a difference of over 300 rank places (10% of schools) between the highest and lowest scoring of them. But what do these numbers mean?
Let’s say the score for School A was +0.05 and School B was -0.05. Taking the numbers at face value, one interpretation is that if you picked two pupils with the same KS2 attainment, the two pupils would have the same grades in seven of the subjects included in Attainment 8 but the pupil from School A would have one grade higher in one and only one subject than the pupil in School B.
Is this an educationally important difference?
And talking of Progress 8 confidence intervals…
So, farewell then, Opportunity
15 years. That’s not bad at all.
NASA’s record-setting Opportunity Rover mission on Mars comes to end
Designed to last just 90 Martian days and travel 1,100 yards (1,000 meters), Opportunity vastly surpassed all expectations in its endurance, scientific value and longevity. In addition to exceeding its life expectancy by 60 times, the rover traveled more than 28 miles (45 kilometers) by the time it reached its most appropriate final resting spot on Mars – Perseverance Valley.
Nasa confirms Mars rover Opportunity is dead
“We had expected that dust falling out of the air would accumulate on the solar rays and eventually choke off power,” Callas said. “What we didn’t expect was that wind would come along periodically and blow the dust off the arrays. It allowed us to survive not just the first winter, but all the winters we experienced on Mars.”
A dust storm has killed NASA’s longest-lived Mars rover
In 2005, Opportunity overcame a sand trap and the loss of one wheel to arrive at the Victoria crater, a 2,400-foot hole that it explored for two years, finding features at its bottom again shaped by ancient water. It next explored the Endeavor crater, 13 miles away, starting in 2011. Most recently it had traversed a narrow valley leading down into the larger Endurance crater.
As this video from NASA shows, the Rover had been on an incredible trek these last 15 years.
Here’s xkcd’s surprisingly moving take on it.
xkcd: Opportunity Rover
Thanks for bringing us along.
Technologies just change, rather than advance, I think. For all their supposed progression, the level of accompanying frustration seems pretty constant.