I’m not a big fan of Kevin Poulsen’s writing, but he’s put together a solid article for the latest Wired: One Hacker’s Audacious Plan to Rule the Black Market in Stolen Credit Cards

He worked for two straight days; when he tired, he crashed out on the apartment’s foldaway bed for an hour or two, then got up and went back at it. Butler sent an email under the handle Iceman to all the thieves whose accounts he had usurped. Whether they liked it or not, he wrote, they were now members of his own site, CardersMarket.com. In one bold stroke, Butler had erected one of the largest criminal marketplaces the Internet had ever seen, 6,000 users strong.

It’s funny, good hackers never get caught because they were defeated in some cyber-battle or because they left a door open behind them somewhere, they only get caught because they’re greedy or they love to talk.

A Want to Believe

Eliza Gauger introduces us to Eric Fortune:

A Want To Believe

Eric Fortune’s introspective paintings make me a touch melancholy. Part of that is the content: iconic girls in balletic poses with implied, sad goals, rendered with milky color. But it is also the very existence of such a person as Mr. Fortune, who is 32 years old and until a few days ago, totally unknown to me. Bratty yahoos like the kid who recently vomited on a Mondrian (Google it; I refuse to give that bore any more linkage) are more widely recognized as “artists” than the ramen-supping drudges who can pluck scenes like this from their live, nude brains. On demand, even. As if function, skill, and work ethic were somehow antithesis to appreciation.

But I am not yet bitter. Merely tangy.


The (Mostly) True Story of Helvetica and the New York City Subway

The (Mostly) True Story of Helvetica and the New York City SubwayHelvetica is the official typeface of the MTA today, but it was not the typeface specified by Unimark International when it created a new signage system at the end of the 1960s. Why was Helvetica not chosen originally? What was chosen in its place? Why is Helvetica used now, and when did the changeover occur?

King Prong

A National Geographic expedition to a tiny South Pacific island has discovered scores of new species, including over 600 types of crabs.

Feather Star Crab

The distinctive hexagonal shell, long legs, and claws of this delicate-looking feather star crab help it blend in with its host, the crinoid or feather star.

The crab dwells in the center of the feather star, where it grabs food particles from its filter-feeding host’s arms.

Over 150 scientists from 20 countries participated in the survey of Espiritu Santo in the South Pacific, scouring caves, mountains, reefs, shallows, and forests collecting species. Out of over 10,000 species collected, the researchers are predicting that as many as 2000 may be previously unknown to the scientific community.

More photos and info:  Crabs! Not-crabs!

(via Zooillogix)

First time anyone’s caught the sample in No Exit, too.

A new review of Bone Music, this time from the Grave Concerns e-zine:

What really sets apart Khan’s work from most of his contemporaries in the dark electronic scene is a fondness for more traditional sound sources. While there’s no shortage of electronic ambience and computer-generated percussive sounds, there’s also plenty of mostly unadorned rock and classical instrumentation. “Waiting for Gira” backs its rumbling percussion with the heavy throb of low-end bass guitar, for example, and “Friends of Father” sees what sounds like old-school guitar distortion and clattering snare drum emerging from a fuzzy wash of static. This more organic sound translates especially well to Khan’s use of rhythm. Often, his beats sound less like programmed sequences than tribal percussive ensembles, especially on the ominous “International Dark Skies,” which evokes imagery of some midnight voodoo conjuration, and title track “Bone Music,” which despite the morbid imagery of its title is actually possessed of a sense of fun not unlike Einsturzende Neubauten’s mellower instrumental experiments.

Kill him. Kill him dead.

I’ve been hoping for a Liberal-NDP coalition government since Chrétien left office, but I never thought I would actually see it so close to actually happening.

If the opposition comes out on top when the dust settles, we might see a new era of coalition governments in Canadian politics, and — dare I say it — electoral reform to prevent the vote-splitting which allowed the Conservatives to take power in the first place. Blue sky thinking to be sure, but no more than a Liberal-NDP coalition was, five years ago.

I could go on for days about my dream cabinet, or the platform I think we’ll see, but all of that is secondary to what would be the most important consequence of a successful coalition: The destruction of Stephen Harper.

Scott Reid said it better than I would:

Stephen Harper is the most dangerous animal lurking in the jungles of Parliament. He is a threat to the future viability of the Liberals. A blood simple opponent of the NDP and the only serious contemporary challenge to the Bloc Quebecois. Without him, his party is an unlikely combination of Reform Party leftovers, Harris refugees and Red Tory desperates. They don’t matter or even exist without Mr. Harper. So before you think a moment longer, opposition leaders, think on that.

And if that’s not compelling enough, remember: He doesn’t play to win. He plays to conquer. Under his guidance, the public interest is always subjugated to his personal political advancement. And he poisons Parliament with an extreme, bare-fanged breed of partisanship that has no hope of repair until he is banished.

This becomes relevant because suddenly, he is weak. In fact, at this particular moment, he is almost unable to defend himself. Owing to a ridiculously ill-considered act of hubris, he has laid himself vulnerable to his opponents. Their imperative could not be more clear: kill him. Kill him dead. Do not, whatever you do, provide him with an opportunity to extend his hold on power. Because you can be damn certain he will never again be so reckless as to give you a chance to finish him off.

He’s right. Everyone involved has gone past the point-of-no-return; this is uncharted territory, and whoever gains ground will be salting the earth behind them.