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The Isoblog. Posts

Malvertising – we have only seen the beginning

Netzpolitik.org has an article (in German) in which they are interviewing IT-Security Consultant Thorsten Schröder on Adblockers, wasted capped mobile bandwidth and Malvertising.

netzpolitik.org: Neben dem Schutz vor Malware, welche weiteren Gründe für die Nutzung von Adblockern findest Du wichtig?

Thorsten Schröder: Wenn wir als Malware all das klassifizieren, was Nutzer ausspioniert, täuscht, kompromittiert oder finanziell schädigt, haben wir im Grunde schon mal eine ganze Reihe an Gründen abgehakt. Nutzer müssen die Möglichkeit haben, selbstbestimmt das Schutzniveau ihres Computers bestimmen zu dürfen. Hat die Bundesregierung vielleicht mal das Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI) gefragt? Es wäre eine gute Gelegenheit für das BSI, zu zeigen, was es drauf hat.

»netzpolitik.org: Besides the protection against malware, what other reasons for using Adblockers are important to you?

Thorsten Schröder: If we classify things as malware which spy on users, deceive them, compromise them or harm them financially, we have in principle covered all reasons. Users you have the right to determine the level of protection their computers need. Did our administration ask their Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik (BSI)? It would be a good opportunity for the BSI to show what they can do.«

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We have bread again!

Like every German living abroad, I suffer from the bread question. But things are clearing up, the most wunderful wife of all has her sourdough going again, and this is a fabulous batch of tiny sourdough Ciabatta.

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Restoring Neuroplasticity

Children are learning much faster than you do. That’s because as you grow up, the brain turns down Neuroplasticity to protect what you have already learned from newer, potentially harmful influence. It used to make sense.

Now, how about some drugs that turn your brains ability to learn new tricks fast, on demand? The New Scientist knows:

Until the age of 7 or so, the brain goes through several “critical periods” during which it can be radically changed by the environment. During these times, the brain is said to have increased plasticity. […]

Hensch’s team has shown that several physiological changes close the door on plasticity in animals. A key player is histone deacetylase (HDAC), an enzyme that acts on DNA and makes it harder to switch genes on or off.

And they used a HDAC inhibitor on humans, with considerable success.

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No such thing as a wilderness, part II

Science Daily writes:

New research investigating the transition of the Sahara from a lush, green landscape 10,000 years ago to the arid conditions found today, suggests that humans may have played an active role in its desertification.

[…] As more vegetation was removed by the introduction of livestock, it increased the albedo (the amount of sunlight that reflects off the earth’s surface) of the land, which in turn influenced atmospheric conditions sufficiently to reduce monsoon rainfall. The weakening monsoons caused further desertification and vegetation loss, promoting a feedback loop which eventually spread over the entirety of the modern Sahara.

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Salted Doorknobs kill MRSA

Salted Doorknobs kill MRSA

Says this article at The Atlantic:

Superbugs like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, have wreaked havoc on the health-care system in recent years. […] How do you stop them? Frequent hand washing is one option, but that requires a behavior change, which can be difficult, even for hospital staff. Another option is to coat those frequently fondled objects most likely to carry the bugs—doorknobs, bed rails, toilet handles—with a special anti-microbial surface, like copper. […] Whitlock found that salt killed off the bug 20 to 30 times faster than the copper did, reducing MRSA levels by 85 percent after 20 seconds, and by 94 percent after a minute.

 

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