Summary of “Exclusive: How a Russian firm helped catch an alleged NSA data thief”

“We all thought [Martin] got caught by renewed or heightened scrutiny, and instead it looks as though he got caught because he was an idiot,” he told POLITICO. As for Kaspersky, news about its assistance in apprehending Martin likely won’t satisfy detractors who believe the company can still be a tool of Russian intelligence even if it occasionally assists the U.S. government.
Although the cryptic Twitter messages could be read as suggesting he was exploring the possibility of passing sensitive data to either Kaspersky or to the Russian government – his attorneys have argued in court that no evidence exists that Martin intended to pass information to anyone.
Kaspersky believed the machine had been infected with Equation Group surveillance software, but in fact it was the home computer of an NSA employee named Nghia Hoang Pho, who had improperly taken home classified documents and NSA code he was helping develop that were related to the Equation Group toolset.
That’s because, unknown to Kaspersky at the time, Israel had hacked the company’s network in 2014, and in 2015 quietly told U.S. officials that it saw Russian intelligence operatives siphon the tools from Pho’s machine with Kaspersky’s cooperation or knowledge, using its antivirus software.
The FBI began investigating Kaspersky’s relationship with the Russian government, and by 2016, the bureau was urging U.S. companies privately to cut business ties with the firm.
Seven months later, DHS issued a directive banning Kaspersky software from civilian government computers because “The Russian government, whether acting on its own or in collaboration with Kaspersky, could capitalize on access provided by Kaspersky products to compromise federal information and information systems directly implicates U.S. national security.” The ban led consumer giant Best Buy to announce it would no longer install Kaspersky antivirus software on computers it sells.
The U.S. government has never publicly indicated that it has any evidence to support suspicions that it has helped the Russian government use its software to spy on Kaspersky customers.
In any case, the timing of these events is notable: It’s not clear whether Kaspersky knew about the FBI investigation or the Israeli allegations when the company turned Martin in to the NSA in 2016.

The orginal article.

Summary of “An Anthropologist Investigates How We Think About How We Think”

Martin wanted to understand how this research is done and whether the scope of experiments was changing with the advent of cheap and bountiful behavioral data, which we all shed, often unknowingly, in every one of our interactions online.
While she’s in field-work mode, Martin is always alert to what she calls these “Ethnographic moments.” Even the smallest action or fragment of speech, she believes, can be a useful clue to the mostly invisible wider cultural assumptions that shape how research is done in any specialized field.
Every few months, she and a fledgling group-Susan Harding, who was studying Jerry Falwell’s megachurch in Lynchburg, Virginia; Harriet Whitehead, who was doing research on Scientology; Lorna Rhodes, who was writing about the psychiatric clinic in which she worked-met at Martin’s Baltimore row house, “Trying to figure out how in the world you do anthropological field work in your own culture.” At childbirth classes, Martin tentatively interviewed other pregnant women; she scoured textbooks on obstetrics and gynecology.
Martin wrote an article, “The Egg and the Sperm: How science has constructed a romance based on stereotypical male-female roles,” which was published in 1991 and became a cult feminist classic.
In the book, Martin observes how people wield the labels handed down to them from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual as a “Cloak against further scrutiny,” a means of using standardized categories to avoid sharing more intimate or divergent psychic experiences.
The C.E.O. of one ad agency told her that, after Bill Clinton became President, two companies, with two different drugs, decided that they wanted their drug to be like Hillary Clinton: strong, tough, knows what she wants, but with “That feminine sort of feeling to it.” Martin also observed how marketers made appeals to psychiatrists’ artistic sides: a Lithium-P campaign featured a portrait of Beethoven and an offer for doctors of a free CD of the Ninth Symphony, taking for granted “Cultural associations between manic depression and creative energy.”
People either see it as the most “Natural” of the drugs, Martin writes, or they fiercely resist taking it, “Loath to have the pleasures of a rising mood taken away from them.” Some psychiatrists believe lithium is now under-prescribed because both doctors and patients are attracted to newer, supposedly “Technologized” medicines, and, at the conference, Martin was accused of contributing to this problem.
Exactly how illuminating it is to match digital data with psychometric profiles is up for debate: the app wrongly identified Martin, based on her answers, as a thirty-five-year-old male-though it did correctly describe her as “Introspective.” Some of the researchers’ findings are intriguingly absurd: Facebook likes of “Thunderstorms” and “Curly fries” supposedly correlated with high intelligence, for instance.

The orginal article.

Summary of “George RR Martin: ‘When I began A Game of Thrones I thought it might be a short story'”

Strict instructions are issued before interviewing George RR Martin: do not ask about The Winds of Winter, the sixth book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, the one fans keep haranguing him about and Martin has been writing since 2011.
Written in the voice of a maester of the citadel, Archmaester Gyldayn, a “Crotchety old guy with strong opinions” who is telling his story hundreds of years after the events he’s chronicling, the structure allows Martin to play about with the unreliability of his narrators, as Gyldayn sorts through his primary sources.
Martin has always loved popular history; Game of Thrones was loosely inspired by accounts of the wars of the Roses.
“If I were 30 years younger I could easily write a series about the Dance of the Dragons” – the Targaryen civil war – “Or I could write the story of Aegon’s conquest. Every one of the 13 children of Jaehaerys and Alysanne has a story that could be told about him or her, their rise, their fall, their triumphs, their deaths It was a lot of fun to create, a lot of fun to live in that world again.”
Martin studied journalism at university – he went to Northwestern in Illinois – continuing to write and sell short stories through his time as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam war, a chess tournament director and a teacher.
“When I began, I didn’t know what the hell I had. I thought it might be a short story; it was just this chapter, where they find these direwolf pups. Then I started exploring these families and the world started coming alive,” Martin says.
“He wrote a huge dark space opera and a vampire riverboat story and a murder mystery rock’n’roll fantasy novel. Each book and each story was different and each was deep. I was delighted that the public discovered his genius with Game of Thrones, but I wish they’d read the other books too,” says Gaiman, who describes himself as “Famous in the world of George RR Martin for a blog post”, in which – way back in 2009 – he took Martin’s fans to task over their demands for the next Song of Ice and Fire novel, telling them: “George RR Martin is not your bitch.”
As well as writing the books, he is working with the writers of the five different prequels to Game of Thrones that HBO is developing, , including Jane Goldman, whose The Long Night takes place 5,000 years in the past.

The orginal article.

Summary of “White Album Box Set: Exclusive Preview of Unheard Beatles Archives – Rolling Stone”

Over a couple of sunny days in Abbey Road, Rolling Stone got a one-on-one exclusive tour of the previously unheard gems from the new Super Deluxe Edition of The Beatles, forever known as the White Album.
Yes, this is the White Album-and the stunning box set goes deep into the creative frenzy the Beatles surged through in 1968.
Of course, the essence of the White Album is that everyone hears it differently-including the Beatles themselves.
Even for fans who know the original album inside out, it’s a whole new experience-one that will permanently change how we think and talk about the Beatles.
“Revolution 1″The legendary Take 18, a nearly 11-minute jam from the first day of the White Album sessions.
The other Beatles were surprised to see someone new at John’s side: Yoko Ono, who became a constant presence in the studio.
John plays the same guitar pattern as “Dear Prudence” and “Julia.” That’s one of the distinctive sonic features of the White Album-the Beatles had their acoustic chops in peak condition, since there had been nothing else to do for kicks in Rishikesh.
“Easier and fun.” John replies, “Oh, all right, if you insist.” It’s a moment that sums up all the surprising discoveries on this White Album edition: a moment where the Beatles find themselves at the edge of the unknown, with no one to count on except each other.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘It was a bit of a blur’: Britney Spears on the making of …Baby One More Time”

In a Sliding Doors-esque moment that could have changed the world as we know it, Baby One More Time very nearly didn’t get written at all, with the song’s melody bubbling up as Martin was drifting off to sleep.
The story goes that after hearing Martin’s demo of what had now been renamed Baby One More Time, Cowell demanded he have the song for his latest boyband, UK rabble Five.
“A song that sounds simple is not simple to make. It’s all about the taste and making sure you don’t add more than what the song needs.”
Another person to witness firsthand this studied effortlessness was Nana Hedin, a backing vocalist who had previously worked with Denniz Pop on songs by Dr Alban, whose 1992 hit It’s My Life soundtracked a Tampax advert in the UK. Pop recommended Hedin to Martin, who brought her onboard for Baby One More Time.
With Britney’s vocals recorded in March, and the song finished shortly after, Spears headed out on a summer tour, taking in 26 shopping malls.
“The label guy brought in a video featuring Britney rehearsing dance moves to the song,” remembers Clarke Ingram, then operations manager and program director of New York’s Top 40 radio station WPXY. “This had the desired effect of showing me that Britney had star quality, in addition to having a potential hit record. We went to lunch afterwards, and I committed to adding the song at that time.” In fact, Ingram is pretty sure he was the first person to play the song on US radio.
“No other station would have heard it any earlier, and I know of no station that played it before we did.” For Ingram, Baby One More Time represented the holy grail: a song pop radio could fully own.
How does Spears feel about the song almost 20 years later? “Wow, that went quick. It was such a fun and crazy time, it was a bit of a blur.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Brief Timeline of George R.R. Martin Focusing on ‘The Winds of Winter'”

So in honor of Martin’s epic procrastinating, here’s a timeline of The Winds of Winter’s many postponements, and other assorted non-Winds of Winter ventures.
July 2011: “I’ve Repeatedly Been Guilty of an Excess of Optimism” In an interview with Entertainment Weekly published in July, Martin says that he’d get back to writing The Winds of Winter at the start of 2012 once the publicity cycle for A Dance With Dragons winds down.
October 2012: Martin Admits He Sucks at Making Predictions Martin has an interview with Adria’s News, which, to the best of my knowledge, is a Spanish blog.
The good news is Martin plans to use this time to wrap up the rest of The Winds of Winter.
“Here’s the update. You won’t like it.” Martin concedes that The Winds of Winter is not finished, and that by the time Thrones’ sixth season airs in April, it still won’t be completed.
January 2017: OK, for Real This Time, 2017 Is the Year A fan asks Martin on his blog for a Winds of Winter update, and while Martin’s a bit peeved to be asked about it again, he offers a glimmer of hope: “I think it will be out this year.”
April 2018: Yeah, It’s the Targaryen Book Martin confirms that the first volume of his Targaryen tome, Fire and Blood, is coming before The Winds of Winter and will be published in November 2018.
Martin has obviously anticipated more reader backlash-because, you know, The Winds of Winter isn’t finished years after he was optimistic he was getting very close-so he writes in the comments about all the famous authors who were never able to finish some of their books, for, uh, “The sake of argument.” “Many many people invest their time into works without endings. F. Scott Fitzgerald never finished The Last Tycoon, Charles Dickens never finished Edwin Drood, Mervyn Peake never finished Titus Alone, yet those works are still read.”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to spot a perfect fake: the world’s top art forgery detective”

The authenticity of four, in particular, including the Cranach, has been contested; the art historian Bendor Grosvenor said they may turn out to be “The best old master fakes the world has ever seen.” Ruffini, who remains the subject of a French police investigation, has denied presenting these paintings as old masters at all.
Prof David Ekserdjian, one of the few art historians who doubted that the painting was a Parmigianino, said he just didn’t feel the prickle of recognition that scholars claim as their gift: the intimacy with an artist that they liken to our ability to spot a friend in a crowd.
Over the past two decades, Martin has also become the art world’s foremost forensic art detective.
On the sliding scale of attribution that art historians use – painted by; hand of; studio of; circle of; style of; copy of – each step takes the artist further from the painting.
Wolfgang Beltracchi, a German artist who served three years in prison for forging paintings worth $45m, surveyed the chemical elements in his works by running them under X-ray fluorescence guns – the same handheld devices, resembling Star Trek phasers, that many art fairs now train upon their exhibits.
Georgina Adam, who wrote Dark Side of the Boom, a book about the art market’s excesses, told me that many forgers are sensibly choosing to falsify 20th-century painters, who used paints and canvases that can still be obtained, and whose abstractions are easier to imitate.
In 2013, investigators learned that the forgeries had been painted by a Chinese immigrant, who was by then 73 years old, in his garage in Queens, and placed with Knoedler by an art dealer who pleaded guilty.
The world of today, the world in which the forgery is being created, is likely to fix itself in some form within the painting – as radioactive dust, perhaps, or as cat hair, or a stray polypropylene fibre.

The orginal article.

Summary of “This company is making an at-home CRISPR kit to find out what’s making you sick”

A new biotech company co-founded by CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna is developing a device that uses CRISPR to detect all kinds of diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, and Zika.
The applications extend beyond that: The same technology could be used in agriculture, to determine what’s making animals sick or what sorts of microbes are found in soil, or even in the oil and gas industry, to detect corrosive microbes in pipelines, says Trevor Martin, the CEO of Mammoth Biosciences, who holds a PhD in biology from Stanford University.
CRISPR can look for precise bits of genetic code, and so it can be engineered to detect a genetic sequence that belongs to a particular virus like Zika.
These tools – developed by the labs of both CRISPR pioneers Doudna at UC Berkeley and Feng Zhang at MIT – pair CRISPR with enzymes like Cas12a and Cas13a.
These systems allow CRISPR to detect specific DNA or RNA, another major biological molecule, and then snip a “Reporter molecule” that releases a fluorescent signal.
Zhang’s team at MIT is also developing a CRISPR paper test, called SHERLOCK, but is not involved in Mammoth Biosciences, and Martin says he can’t comment on their work.
“We’re just always excited when the potential of CRISPR is further reinforced.”
As for the name of the company? It’s a “Cheeky play” on the idea that CRISPR could be used – at least theoretically – to bring back extinct species like mammoths.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Beatles’ ‘Please Please Me’ Session, Hour by Hour”

“Please Please Me” and its B side, “Ask Me Why,” were already in the can, as well as the Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do,” backed by “P.S. I Love You.” That left 10 more songs to fill out the customary 14 tracks of a British LP. “It was a straightforward performance of their stage repertoire – a broadcast, more or less,” Martin said, not unlike their regular sessions on the BBC radio.
“We ran through all the songs before we recorded anything. We’d play a bit and George Martin would say, ‘Well, what else have you got?'” Paul McCartney wanted to record the old Marlene Dietrich ballad “Falling in Love Again,” but the number was vetoed by Martin, who deemed it “Corny.” The same went for “Besame Mucho,” made famous by the Coasters, which had been a perennial Beatles favorite since 1960.
Five takes of the song were recorded, two of them incomplete breakdowns, with the band playing and singing live.
3:45-4:15 p.m.: “A Taste of Honey” vocal overdubsThe overdubs on “Do You Want to Know a Secret” apparently triggered something with Martin and the boys, because the next hour and a quarter was spent polishing off songs that were already in the can.
It’s telling that all the non-original songs on Please Please Me had been performed by black soul artists, bearing out McCartney’s assertion that the Beatles saw themselves as “a little R&B combo.”
According to McCartney, the number “Was a fan favorite with the crowd. And it was great – though if you think about it, here’s us doing a song and it was really a girls’ song. ‘I talk about boys now!’ Or it was a gay song. But we never even listened. It’s just a great song.”
The second Shirelles song the Beatles’ recorded that day, “Baby It’s You” also featured contributions from Luther Dixon, the co-writer of “Boys.” Three takes were recorded, one of which was a false start, with the final one labeled as the best.
“You can hear it on the record. But it was a pretty cool performance.” The final seconds of the song, which eventually closed the Beatles’ debut, capture a joyous “Hey!” – McCartney’s spontaneous salute to his mate.

The orginal article.