This isn’t the apple.com you want

If you’re using Chrome, Firefox, or Opera to view websites, you should be aware of a weakness that can trick even savvy people into trusting malicious impostor sites that want you to download software or enter your password or credit card data.

The weakness involves the way these browsers display certain characters in the address bar. Until Google released version 58 in the past 24 hours, for instance, Chrome displayed https://www.xn--80ak6aa92e.com/ as https://www.apple.com. The latest versions of Firefox and Opera by default continue to present the same misleading address. As the screenshot above demonstrates, the corresponding website has nothing to do with Apple. Had a malicious attacker registered the underlying xn--80ak6aa92e.com domain, she could have used it to push backdoored software or to trick visitors into divulging passwords or other sensitive information.

Nearly 20,000 drug convictions dismissed

Because of a lab chemist‘s widespread criminal misconduct in analyzing drug samples, about 95% of 20,000 drug convictions in Massachusetts have been dismissed, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.”That is a victory for regular people, for people who’ve been tarnished by these drug convictions,” said Carl Williams, a staff attorney for the ACLU.

Those drug convictions had relied on analysis from Annie Dookhan, a former chemist for the Department of Public Health. Dookhan worked testing drug samples submitted by law enforcement agencies from 2003 until 2012, when investigators accused her of contaminating drug samples, falsifying results, and mishandling evidence.

Investigators said she admitted to intentionally contaminating some samples to turn them from negative samples into positive samples. She also admitted to “dry labbing” in which she tested a few samples but reported the same results for multiple other samples.

Holy crap science.

Listening To…

  • Spoon – Hot Thoughts. I’ve been trying to get into this for weeks. New Spoon records usually take a while to sink in, but this has taken longer. The songs are clearly Spoon songs, a bit funkier than usual, but there’s a thick layer of glossy dance-music production on top that I keep bouncing off of – lots of electronic blips and bloops, lots of compression, staccato everything. This pains me. Am I too old for this stuff now? Has one of my favorite bands moved in a direction I can’t follow? But, last night, I played this record on our Sonos system, and it clicked. For some reason Sonos thinks the first two songs should be at the end of the record (they were released early, so maybe their metadata is messed up). And it turns out what I don’t like about this record is that first song, the title track. Without that, the rest of the record is fine. The sound is still different, but I can handle it now. That first song just puts me in a bad mood! Skip it! This probably won’t be my favorite Spoon record, but at least I can stop worrying that I’m over the hill.
  • Flock Of Dimes – If You See Me, Say Yes. Jenn Wasner is half of the great band, Wye Oak. And this is her solo project. This has more synths and more electronic percussion, but it actually sounds a lot like current Wye Oak; unsurprising since her distinctive songwriting and singing are the core of each. The synths and heavily-chorused guitar sounds give off a strong 80s vibe – am I hearing Kate Bush, Laurie Anderson ? Whatever it is, I dig it. I like what she does with her vocal melodies.
  • Louie Jordan – #1s. Sometimes called the grandfather of rock and roll, Louis Jordan was a bandleader from the late 30s into the early 50s. He did a mix of danceable jazz and blues that got labelled “jump blues”. The bands were smaller than big-band jazz bands, and the tunes were cheeky and sometimes a bit bawdy (for the time). It wasn’t rock and it wasn’t R&B; the instrumentation and presentation was still in the 30s/40s jazz band style, and there was still a lot of swing in there. But it was close. By the late 40’s, Jordan was right on the edge of what we know as rock and roll. And the people who went on to become the first generation of rockers were clearly listening to him. For example, listen to the first few seconds of “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman”:

    Louis Jordan Ain't That Just Like A Woman

    Chuck Berry, who wasn’t shy about his love of Jordan, built a career off that lick.

You?