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07/12/2017

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Amazon added that it had responded quickly to the gaffe and claimed that it had cancelled most of the orders placed on the items that had wrongly been marked with a 1p price tag.The online retail giant said that it was reviewing the small number of orders that had been successfully processed as 1p sales. Attorneys representing Ross Ulbricht – the alleged mastermind behind the Silk Road online drugs souk – have asked a New York court to bar evidence that Ulbricht sought to have six people killed, claiming it would unfairly prejudice the jury in his upcoming narcotics trafficking trial.Prosecutors have alleged that Ulbricht, under the guise of the Dread Pirate Roberts, tried to hire a contract killer to murder six people involved with Silk Road, including a former employee of the site, in order to keep them from giving evidence to law enforcement.But in documents filed with the court on Wednesday, Ulbricht's lawyers asked that the matter of the alleged contract killings not be raised in the 30-year-old's upcoming trial, because the conduct alleged – which the government acknowledges did not result in any homicide or even violent behavior of any type – is irrelevant and/or unfairly prejudicial.

While it's true that nobody was actually killed, however, prosecutors argue that this was only because the person that San Franciscan Ulbricht allegedly attempted to hire to carry out the murders was an undercover federal agent.Agents actually went as far as to fake photos of the supposed torture and murder of onetime Silk Road staffer Curtis Clark Green and send them to Ulbricht, who allegedly responded that he was sure that he would use the killer's services again at some point.In court filings, prosecutors claim they have ample evidence to prove that Ulbricht intended to have the murders carried out:To demonstrate the foregoing, the Government intends to offer into evidence at trial records of conversations between the defendant and [the purported killer] recovered from the Silk Road messaging system, as well as the chat log of the discussion between Ulbricht and [an associate]. The Government also intends to offer into evidence files from Ulbricht's laptop, including the log recovered from Ulbricht's laptop which includes entries regarding these murders for hire. Further, the Government intends to offer evidence from the public Blockchain demonstrating that the defendant made the payment of 3,000 Bitcoins ... for these murders for hire.

The catch, though, is that Ulbricht is not being charged with the contract killings in his upcoming trial. That will wait until a second trial that's due to be held in Maryland, once the New York trial is completed.In light of that, Ulbricht's attorneys say any discussion of the alleged contract killings would be irrelevant to the matter of whether he's guilty of facilitating drugs sales.They're also seeking to suppress evidence that Ulbricht tried to order fake identification documents via Silk Road, which they claim could also unfairly prejudice their client.Finally, there's a currently non-public matter that they also want to discuss with the judge – the nature of which has been redacted from court documents – which will be addressed in a conference to be held on December 15.For its part, the government has asked that Ulbricht's lawyers be barred from discussing the consequences for Ulbricht should he be convicted, and they also don't want the jury to hear about Ulbricht's personal beliefs regarding drug laws or regulation of online commerce, saying it could lead to an erroneous assumption that good motive is inconsistent with criminal intent. A few months back I spied a rare, spare week in my schedule and decided to turn it into a fortnight’s ‘staycation’. I’d stick around the house, but do no work whatsoever.I didn’t simply disappear. After ensuring everything would keep ticking over in my absence, I activated the vacation responder on my email, so people would know when they could expect to hear from me.

That used to be enough. Folks would receive that message and respect it. But something’s changed.Returning from holidays I found an angry set of demands for my time and attention. Nothing serious, certainly nothing that could qualify as an emergency, just the whinging of folks who have come to believe continuous availability should extend to individuals.Computers run 24x7. We can now do our banking from a mobile at 3:00AM on a passenger train between Shanghai and Beijing. This has given us a false impression that all of human culture has become equally available. People can’t live up to those sorts of demands.In some significant ways our incredible tech advances have infantilized us. We expect to be nursed and soothed as needed, and grow very fussy when we feel those demands haven’t been met.Half a century ago, Marshall McLuhan wrote, “First we shape our tools, then our tools shape us.” An always-on world of information and connection has warped our world views. We now view our social interactions through a prism shaped by the constant capacity of machines.A process that kicked off with the noble desire to make things more convenient for ourselves has ended up making things more inconvenient for most of us. Worse still, we’ve started to lean into this inconvenience. An infrastructure of ‘notifications’ greets us on nearly every screen, from laptop to smartphone to wearable. We learn of new emails and Facebook posts and instant messages, whether or not they’re relevant to us at that moment in time.

With every notification we surrender some of our own space for thinking and feeling and being, handing it over to systems designed by folks who thought more about capacity than capaciousness. That emphasis on continual connectivity and awareness ends up only dulling our attention.Connectivity is fantastic - up to a point. Beyond that, it generates a very well-informed state of idiocy. We are not at our best when interrupt driven. We need context and continuity and concentration. The devices we crafted to support these states of mind now overawe our attention.I’m not suggesting we abandon the infrastructure of connectivity. The problem doesn’t lie with connectivity, but in how we make use of it. Rather than leaning into the noise, we could walk another path.At this year’s Web Directions conference, nearly every speaker touched a different aspect of empathy as an integral element of user experience. We have delivered amazing, responsive systems, making them easy to use, but neglected to account for what happens to us when we use them. Designers need to put themselves into the equation, feeling through what it means to handle their tools every minute of every day - as their customers will. First we shape our tools, then our tools shape our customers.

This is no longer an essentially technical question, but one that touches on psychology, anthropology, and cultural understanding. These tools that shape us determine the shape of our societies. Designs needs to be carefully considered in light of their long-term effects.We’re already living with some of those effects, harbouring an unsupportable expectation that people will behave a lot like machines, becoming enraged when they display any of the human characteristics we would unthinkingly allow ourselves. Mediated by machines, we forget the human on the other side.A world filled with machines remains stubbornly human. We can not march to a gigahertz clock, so everywhere the the world of flesh touches the world of silicon it leaves us bruised. Though we believe we can, we can never keep pace, so we are continuously disappointed when the human world falls short of the machine’s promise.But our failures help us to forgive others, while the failures of others help us to accept the world as it is - imperfect.We need to design a world that frames human frailties as positive qualities, one that recognizes that it is within quiet moments we find our inspiration, that from our disappointments, we learn resilience. Machines may never err, but that doesn’t mean we need to emulate them. To err is human, and for that reason, miraculous.

Over this holiday season - when so much happens so quickly - step away from devices and notifications, and find some silence. Silence is a gift that keeps on giving. A hacker duo have shown how to hijack Boosted brand electricity-assisted skateboards.The boards feature small motors to help riders go up hills, or down hills much faster. An app controls the motors over Bluetooth.Stripe security engineer Richo Healey and penetration tester and Bluetooth expert Mike Ryan found a way to block the Bluetooth signal used between the controller and skateboard, then force it to pair with a laptop.The result was that Boosted skateboards could be remotely hijacked while in motion, with unpleasant consequences for riders.At places like traffic lights where you definitely know people are going to stop you could just nab a skater as they go past, Healey said.The attack would absolutely land within 30 seconds, and possibly ten.The attack can be automated using scripts, allowing attackers to pop hipsters merely by carrying a laptop in a backpack.The first thing I thought when we started this is launching a bunch of hipsters who are rolling down Market Street in Melbourne Ryan said.

The simplest way to do this would be to get something that generates a whole lot of noise on the 2.4Ghz spectrum to disconnect the controller.Flaws including failed encryption allowed the pair to write code that could emulate the Boosted controller to connect to the boards. They would not publicly release that code however.The $100 'junk-hacking' work was presented at the Kiwicon conference in Wellington where the pair wrote an automated script to put the skateboard into a 'bucking bull' state which daring delegates attempted to master.Boosted was in conjunction with the pair developing a firmware fix and was grateful of the research when it was first quietly disclosed.Development of the injection attack began in September when the pair began reverse-engineering the protocol.Healey first became aware that a hack was possible when earlier this year when his Boosted skateboard disconnected from its controller due to excessive radio interference in one busy Melbourne intersection, causing him to crash.It was the first bug the pair shook out of the Boosted firmware, with more possible if the pair could obtain a research board to continue hacking including the development of tweaks that may allow the skateboards to accelerate beyond firmware speed caps.

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