LED Day – 155

What is Project LED? Find out here

I’m something of a photographer too! Check out my work here.

Day of December 18th 2014

  • Smirnoff has a recipes section on their website which catalogs cocktails that are made (in part) with their products.
  • www.windyty.com is a beautiful display of wind pattern data across the globe.  The website’s overlay can be modified to depict other weather conditions such as temperature and pressure can even display the data for multiple levels of elevation. While the site may not be useful for a quick glance of what it’s like outside, it certainly provides insight on where your weather is coming from.
  • Norman Bridwell was the author and illustrator of Clifford the Big Red Dog. He died in December of 2014.
  • Posts on Yik-Yak will be deleted if they receive 5 downvotes.
  • Mobile applications can be geofenced. Geofencing modifies the usage or features of an app while in certain areas via GPS.


  • I was looking for Christmas cocktails!
  • I came across this article on Engadget.


  • This came up in the daily news on Flipboard.
  • I looked up Yik-Yak’s workings.
  • Yik-Yak is “geofenced” in certain areas. I looked up what the term meant.

Daily Track:

On Internet and Security Leaks

DSC_2197Over the last few days, I’ve seen countless reports, op-ed pieces — even gossip columns and tabloid articles — about the “heinous crime(s)” recently committed online. Now that this personal photo hacking scandal (involving Jennifer LawrenceKate Upton and several other popular female media stars) has blown over a little bit, I feel that it’s a bit more appropriate to have an objective analysis of the incident, and the relevant cultural backlash.

More information on the photo leak can be found here:


First, a few facts that seem to have been blurred in the crossfire of opinions.

  • iCloud itself was not compromised as a system. The cyber attack was targeted at specific individuals, and employed a combination of social hacking techniques and flaw exploitation. In this particular case, social hacking means that the hackers tried guessing passwords, and answers to security questions; hackers also exploited the fact that Apple’s iCloud password recovery system does not lock out users from making password recovery attempts or logging in, after multiple failures.
  • The DMCA allows for legal claims (at the Federal level) to be made concerning personal or copyrighted material published on the internet. These claims are then evaluated and sent to the hosting party/web admin. At this point, a site(s) hosting the material is legally required to see to its immediate removal. The DMCA does not require private hosts like 4chanReddit and Google (all of which have a large public user base) to constantly monitor and filter their content.
  • Both the theft and the online release of the photos in question are considered criminal activity.
  • The official investigation is high profile and being handled by the FBI.

Everything I’ve read so far concerning the iCloud breach has made out the hackers to be wicked, bordering on evil. Posts and articles written by feminists take a very strong (and typical) position about how the leak perpetuates rape culture and demeans the privacy and security of women. Conversely, the anonymous (and largely male) free-for-all communities on Reddit & 4chan were rather grossly excited and welcomed the photos — even setting up dedicated forum threads for easy access. Some writers have criticized the victims of the cyber attack for either having stored the revealing photos on iCloud or having taken the photos in the first place, while others have even written about the concept of hacker’s glory, which may play a major role in motivating hackers to continue hacking and publishing/trading their illicitly obtained data. Regardless of point of view or persuasion, the salient take-away from this incident should be that data organized online is only as safe as its irrelevance. Or more simply put: if the data hidden behind passwords is not important to a potential thief, then it is safe. Any data stored with information giants is at risk of theft; including the likes of (but not limited to) AppleGoogle and Microsoft – all of which offer e-mail, cloud storage and instant messaging services.

This issue of flawed internet security has been highlighted countless times over the last decade. Hackers have hacked everything from the credit card information of private citizens to the front pages of major government institutions. And then of course there’s the issue of who the hackers actually are; as Edward Snowden gracefully revealed to American public, introverted teenagers with lots of free time aren’t the only ones hunting and hacking for data. Intelligence agencies all over the world (especially our own) prowl the internet and take as they see fit.

Check out this awesome interactive infographic detailing data theft from the last decade.


This sort of behavior by any party, be it adolescent or secret agent, is considered theft, but not in the traditional sense. I found many op-ed articles likening digital data theft to the theft of one’s home, car or person; an analogy I strongly oppose. The internet is an enormous and dynamic system of networks. Not a neighborhood, parking lot or city block. Stealing from the internet is nowhere near as personal as stealing in real life. It is this impersonal attitude in particular which makes online theft so common and light on the conscience; hackers can effectively rob hundreds and thousands of people with just a few keystrokes. This experience of pulling files off of a remote server is nothing like traditional theft for the hacker or the victim. It’s also worth mentioning that victims of cyber theft are usually not “robbed” of their data. In most cases, the stolen material is simply copied and used without authorization.

It’s probably fair to say (for now) that the vast majority of internet users won’t be affected by online security breaches in any life changing way, but Big Data is coming. Data giants already have comprehensive sets of information detailing the lives of the average user. A combination of the data stored in my Facebook and Google accounts can be used to easily create a very (and almost scarily accurate) comprehensive map of my life. Just the other day, Google Now informed me that I walked 19% more than I did the month prior. As we move forward, even more of our data will be organized in cyberspace. Smart-watches and newer smartphones are beginning to keep track of blood pressure, pulse and even caloric intake; smart-glasses will eventually make it through legal and civil hurdles and revolutionize the way we see the world. It’s definitely high time to take our data security more seriously.





LED Day – 28

What is Project LED? Find out here

Day of April 28th 2014

  • Spotify has a website reviewing 2013. On it, you can see various bits of data about music in 2013. The page also provides some facts about your listening history. There could be inaccuracies with the data however. I’m not entirely sure that offline listening hours were accounted for.

    My 2013 on Spotify

    My 2013 on Spotify

  • Queens College offers a class called: Sociology of Drugs. Sounds interesting.
  • Availability Heuristic: The impression that something is more likely to happen because it happened recently.
  • We miscalculate risk all the time. The average person, thinks they are more likely to live a longer and safer life than the average person.


  • Came across the site while reading a review of the Spotify service. As a premium user, I’m constantly listening to music and was quite interested in the stats.
  • While looking for appropriate summer classes, I took a look at the some of sociology classes offered.
  • Watched a VSauce video about risk and risk assessment.

  • The above video taught me this as well.

Daily Track:


LED Day – 7

What is Project LED? Find out here

Day of April 7th 2014

  • Having the occasional conversation with your mailman may get you special treatment.
  • My (currently) 6 year old niece is a little schemer!
  • Seat covers can do a former smoker with burn holes in his/her car a world of good.
  • Life on this planet started 3,600,000,000 (3.6 billion) years ago, animal life started 600,000,000 (600 million)years ago, and mammals came to be 200,000,000 (200 million) years ago.
  • On average I download about 32 GBs of data per month.
  • There are “pleasure rings” for males..


  • My mother makes it a point to throw some friendly conversation in the direction of our mailman. This has resulted in the occasional package delivery to our door and special notices.
  • The little girl is a master at twisting words to get her way!
  • Just bought universal seat covers for my car and they’ve made the interior of my car more comfortable and appealing.


  • Watched a wonderful infographic video about the history of history.

  • Installed a program on my laptop which monitors my bandwidth usage at all times.
  • Came across them while browsing the Goods section of Groupon..


Daily Track:

LED Day – 5

What is Project LED? Find out here

Day of April 5th 2014

  • Electricity is so necessary…
  • Everyone has their dark corners.
  • Wolfram Alpha is taking a shot at a very impressive goal: to produce a free-form, accessible database of all data represented knowledge. A computer that can answer all questions (in whatever form you input) with data.
  • https://www.mathway.com/ is a very helpful math tool. It can solve all major types of problems and even provide step by step guidance.
  • A lot of the people younger than me actually use Google+ as their primary social network. I don’t see much of other social networks because my group of friends and I are habituated to Facebook.


  • Working almost a full day without electricity in the workplace was rather difficult.
  • Watching one of my fellows in a moment of distress made me aware of a different side of his personality.
  • Suggested to download the Wolfram Alpha app. Decided to Google search it and ended up on their “about” page. http://www.wolframalpha.com/about.html
  • Listed as a useful tool on a newsfeed I monitor.
  • Conversation with my students reveal that many of them and their friends have full networks on Google+. Their networks include other kids from their schools and even neighborhood friends.

Daily Track: