Unsupervised Learning No. 234

News & Analysis

MEMBER EDITION | EP. 234 | June 22, 2020

THIS WEEK’S TOPICS: Ripple20 IoT Vulns, Homeland Security Surveillance, US Cyber Budget, Adobe EOL, AWS DDoS, Bellingcat Poison Investigation, Technology News, Human News, Ideas Trends & Analysis, Discovery, Recommendations, and the Weekly Aphorism…


Ripple20 is a set of 19 vulnerabilities in IoT devices affecting over 15 manufacturers and billions of devices. It's a set of vulnerabilities in a low-level TCP/IP library, and they named it "ripple" because of its supply chain implications. More

Russia is installing a video surveillance tool in all of its schools nationwide. The name of the software is "Orwell", and no—that's not a joke. The software uses AI-based image recognition to help identify strangers, but there are plans to have it expanded into taking attendance, monitoring working hours, and more. More

Homeland Security used aerial surveillance to monitor protests in 15 cities. All the images were fed into a Homeland Security tool called Big Pipe, which can be accessed by multiple federal agencies. More

An analysis of the US Cyber Budget reveals that the focus is mostly on offense and the Department of Defense, and not growing defensive capabilities across multiple agencies. More

Bellingcat investigated the Russian poisonings of people in Salisbury, UK, and the researcher talks about how they found the true identities of the suspects, found their leaders, and connected them to other Russian operations. More

Adobe is end-of-lifing Flash on December 31, 2020. More

AWS says it's mitigated the largest DDoS ever, at 2.3 terabits per second, with its Shield product. More

Hong Kong schools are now being ordered to display the Chinese flag and sing the Chinese national anthem. More

Russia has unbanned Telegram. More


  • 79 Netgear routers have a critical RCE bug via buffer overflow in the HTTP daemon. More

  • Adobe has patched 18 issues out of band. More

  • Plex Media Server has multiple issues. More


  • Dropbox has launched its own password manager. More

  • Salt Security closes $20 million to help protect APIs. More


Amazon just launched AWS Snowcone, which is a small, 4.5 pound box with 2 CPUs and 4GB of memory that's designed to used in edge operational areas. It has 8TB of usable storage and is designed to be a data transfer mechanism, either physically by shipping them to AWS or by moving them via drones, as well as just being portable, trusted (they contain TPMs) compute at the edge. More

Researchers taught a robot how to suture by showing it surgery videos. More

Phillips Hue now has a super-bright lightbulb option (the equivalent of 100 watts), which I've been wanting for a long time. More

Tesla is now the world's most valuable automaker. More

Boston Dynamics is now selling its four-legged robot named Spot. They're selling for $74,500 dollars, and are often used for creating 3D maps of locations. As for me, they remind me an awful lot of the little robots in Black Mirror. More Video

Twitter is rolling out voice tweets. More


  • TikTok is expected to hit $500 million in revenue this year. More

  • Unbounce raises $38 million to build landing pages with lower bounce rates. More

  • Contentful raises $80 million for its headless CMS. More


The daily step count needed to get health improvements is far lower than 10,000. You start getting benefits at around 4,400, and it goes up from there. More

Rent prices are falling across the US due to the pandemic and lockdown. The article quotes drops between 6 and 20 percent. More

US retail sales jumped by 18% in May, but they're still lower than normal. More

Yuval Harari gives a commencement speech warning that, "Congratulations, you are now hackable animals." More

Dexamethasone is a cheap, available steroid that is the first drug to significantly help in the fight against COVID-19. It's a steroid that helps reduce the dangerous inflammation response in the body that leads to breathing problems. It evidently cuts the risk of death for people on ventilators by a third. More

Chess is blowing up on Twitch, which is heartening because not only is it Chess, but also because it's also a game in which computers have surpassed humans. This is a good data point for other industries in which AI may pass us in the future. Just because humans aren't better than computers at something, doesn't mean humans won't want to see the best humans competing in that thing. More

Japan has almost exclusively male boards, and the rest of the world is starting to scrutinize them for it. More


Do the Real Thing More

On Coding, Ego, and Attention More

There's an interesting argument that says if we want to combat pandemics, we need to use GMO crops and be willing to adjust the free-range cattle approach used in much of the world. Doing so would evidently reduce deforestation significantly. Basically, deforestation is caused by the lack of modernization in growing crops and meat, and the old methods are also making farmers in China turn to raising animals like Pangolins. More


I finished Getting to Yes and Nonviolent Communication and I'm now reading A World Without Work, by Daniel Susskind. It's a brand new book (2020) and in my opinion, it's the best view of the automation problem out there right now. If you read Andrew Yang's book, it's like his conversation about automation, but at book-length. Susskind's treatment of the topic is great because it's realistic. It's not alarmist, it's not complacent, it's just describing the situation. More


How I find the gems among blogs, podcasts, and videos. More

Excalidraw — A super clean web app for making sketch-like diagrams. More

The true sizes of land masses compared (Infographic) More

There's a fascinating connection between modern art and the CIA. More

RSS Box — A tool for creating RSS feeds for sources that don't have them. More

This is a live map of all the Starlink satellites. More
The best credit-monitoring services of 2020. More

Another Recon methodology, but with workflows and code. More

Turn on MFA before attackers do it for you. More

A hacker decided to restore a historical synth and ended up dosing himself with LSD. More

ZipCracker — A Python script for cracking zip file passwords. More

MetricsDB — A time-series database for storing metrics at Twitter. More

SecretFinder — Find sensitive keys, tokens, etc., in JavaScript files. More


A World Without Work, by Daniel Susskind. More

Do the Real Thing More


“The best answer to gossip is silent contempt.”

~ Jules Renard