Thursday, February 26, 2015

Returned Benin works of art

Two bronze artworks, created in the now non-existing kingdom of Benin, were returned by the grandson of a man who looted them, to the great-grandson of the then ruler. The artwork was taken in 1897 by British officers sent to the nation, now part of Nigeria,  in response to the "massacre" of seven British officers visiting the king. Supposedly the officers were on a peace mission and they were supposedly murdered on the orders of the king. What exactly happened and why is now questionable. 500 British went to destroy the capital in retaliation. 800 gorgeous, sophisticated bronzes used as palace decorations and having other social, cultural, historical value ended up at the  British  Museum. Others were sold abroad. Capt. Herbert Walker left with a ceremonial bell and an odd looking bird, both bronzes. He also kept a diary recording his experiences. These items eventually descended to his grandson who got in touch with a society campaigning to return works of art from Benin to their royal palace, the Richard Lander Society. Walker the grandson recently returned the two objects he had inherited to the great-grandson of the deposed Benin king. Fascinating. The Benin began making metal works after contact with the Portugese in the 1400s, from whom they received brass bracelets. Later Europeans were stunned at the quality, detail and sophistication of the bronzes. The quality of the sculptures is stunning by any standards. Read about it here

malware on Lenovos

Lenovo has just been forced to remove from its latest version laptops hidden adware, Superfish, referred to as"malicious" malware. Existing Lenovo machines were removed from stores to disable Superfish. What about those of us with older Lenovos? It doesn't say what it is going to do about them. We love our Lenovo, but it constantly has popups and I've had it wiped of viruses several times. It seems rather ridiculous.  I hope the company agrees to clean out the malware for good. Read more about it here

As a result of the announcement of their malware, Lenovo has just been hacked by a group called Lizard Squad. The attack is still under investigation. Hackers gained access to the network, then the DNS (Domain Name Servers) which convert web addresses into IP addresses. One of the obvious results is that people going to the site are automatically redirected elsewhere.  Other effects of the attack are still being analyzed. Read more about it here

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

hacking into Sim card codes

The BBCNews announced that both the UK and US hacked into a Dutch company, Gemalto,  a major international Sim card production company, to get codes to eavesdrop on people's phones without permission. Once you have the codes you can access info that is encrypted with the Sims cards, including conversations and text messages. Other types of communications use other systems. The UK's national security agency, GCHQ, says it acted within the law. No comment from the NSA. Privacy rights advocates disagree. Among Gemalto's clients are "AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and "some 450 wireless network providers around the world". Read more about it here  Even though other types of communication are not yet announced as being hacked, you have to believe they will be if they haven't been already.

Today the BBCNews reported that Gemalto is positive both the US and UK hacked into it, but denies that codes were retrieved and personal messages were accessed. This is a denial so reminiscent of denials by other major companies that have been hacked that it leaves me highly skeptical to say the least. Read more about it here

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Phones-how you can be tracked

Did you know you can be tracked through your phone's battery use? Read more about it here This is interesting especially in contrast to a CMLife article about how the Michigan police have to wait 4 days for a warrant to access someone's GPS location on their phone if they've been kidnapped. A bill is being discussed to remove the need for a warrant, hoping to save lives, but obviously infringing on civil liberties and privacy rights. Read more about that here

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ancient Welsh woman's remains returned home

Custody battles over contested artifacts and remains are often in the news. Sometimes the items in question are repatriated to their home nation, country, historical institution or returned to descendants of the owner. Here's a case of an ancient woman's remains housed in England finally returning to Wales after a tv show discussed her contested remains. After the show aired, representatives from the two historical institutions  met and discovered they had more in common than not. As a result, a vote occurred and all agreed to return her remains to her homeland. Wouldn't it be great if all contested artifacts, remains, and information could be handled so amicably? She lived in 3510 B.C.  See for more info.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Smelly penguiny job ad for a "living museum"

Today there is a job add for a post office position in the arctic at Port Lockroy, Nov to March.  The site is a "living museum."  I love this advertising:

"Can you carry a big heavy box over slippery rocks and slushy snow whilst dodging penguins?" asks the job advertisement.
"Are you happy not to shower for up to a month, live in close proximity to three people and 2,000 smelly penguins for five months?"

 It would be interesting to talk to the people who apply for this job. I wonder what their experiences are. It is sad that a "living museum" has such a smelly feel to it.

Read more about it here

FB after you die- now there are options!

Ever wonder what happens to your  Facebook (FB) site when you die? Can your relatives gain access to it?  Or how to access the FB site of a dear one when s/he dies? Well, after his son died, a father petitioned FB for access  to his images. FB officials have agreed to accommodate death on FB by your predetermination of the following options: 1) shutting down your site after you die or 2) allowing others to access it after your demise. I wonder how many will take advantage of these options? For me it is not a big deal, but for some people it clearly is.  Read more about it here