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      A Hacker’s Mind News / Schneier · Tuesday, 21 March, 2023 - 20:39

    My latest book continues to sell well. Its ranking hovers between 1,500 and 2,000 on Amazon . It’s been spied in airports.

    Reviews are consistently good. I have been enjoying giving podcast interviews. It all feels pretty good right now.

    You can order a signed book from me here .

    For those of you in New York, I’m giving at book talk at the Ford Foundation on Thursday, April 6. Admission is free, but you have to register .

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      Booklist Review of A Hacker’s Mind / Schneier · Saturday, 14 January, 2023 - 16:29

    Booklist reviews A Hacker’s Mind :

    Author and public-interest security technologist Schneier ( Data and Goliath , 2015) defines a “hack” as an activity allowed by a system “that subverts the rules or norms of the system […] at the expense of someone else affected by the system.” In accessing the security of a particular system, technologists such as Schneier look at how it might fail. In order to counter a hack, it becomes necessary to think like a hacker. Schneier lays out the ramifications of a variety of hacks, contrasting the hacking of the tax code to benefit the wealthy with hacks in realms such as sports that can innovate and change a game for the better. The key to dealing with hacks is being proactive and providing adequate patches to fix any vulnerabilities. Schneier’s fascinating work illustrates how susceptible many systems are to being hacked and how lives can be altered by these subversions. Schneier’s deep dive into this cross-section of technology and humanity makes for investigative gold.

    The book will be published on February 7. Here’s the book’s webpage. You can pre-order a signed copy from me here .

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      When physics met dance: Marie Curie and Loïe Fuller in Belle Époque Paris

      Jennifer Ouellette · / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 17 February, 2021 - 11:45 · 1 minute

    Poster from the Belle Epoque joins together two black-and-white photographs of women.

    Enlarge / Radiant: The Scientist, the Dancer, and a Friendship Forged in Light explores the lives of Marie Curie and Loïe Fuller. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images )

    Both the arts and the sciences flourished in Paris during the years of the so-called Belle Époque at the dawn of the 20th century. This was when Nobel Prize-winning physicist Marie Curie and her husband, Pierre, made their breakthrough discoveries in radioactivity, discovering two new elements. At the same time, a modern dancer and pioneer in theatrical lighting named Loïe Fuller , who was all the rage in Paris, dreamed of incorporating radium into her stage act. Science writer and communicator Liz Heinecke brings the live of these two visionary women together in an illuminating new biography, Radiant: The Scientist, the Dancer, and a Friendship Forged in Light .

    The details of Marie Curie's life are very well-documented and well-known. She left her native Poland and moved to Paris at 14 to pursue a degree in science, living in abject poverty while studying and conducting research. She met a chemist named Pierre Curie, and they began collaborating, eventually falling in love and getting married in 1895. The Curies had been married for six months when Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays (winning the very first Nobel Prize in physics in 1901). Soon after, Henri Becquerel published his insight that uranium salts emitted rays that would fog a photographic plate in early 1896. Becquerel's uranium rays so fascinated Marie that she made them the focus of her own research.

    With Pierre, she uncovered evidence of two new elements they dubbed polonium and radium. The couple shared the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics with Becquerel for their work developing a theory of radioactivity—she was the first woman to be so honored. After Pierre's tragic death in a 1906 street accident, Marie developed new techniques for isolating radioactive isotopes from pitchblende and eventually succeeded in isolating radium in 1910. She won a second Nobel Prize (this time in chemistry) in 1911 for the discovery of polonium and radium. She remains the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice and the only person to do so in two different scientific fields.

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      Click Here to Kill Everybody Sale

      Bruce Schneier · / Schneier · Monday, 18 January, 2021 - 21:02 · 1 minute

    For a limited time, I am selling signed copies of Click Here to Kill Everybody in hardcover for just $6, plus shipping.

    Note that I have had occasional problems with international shipping. The book just disappears somewhere in the process. At this price, international orders are at the buyer’s risk. Also, the USPS keeps reminding us that shipping — both US and international — may be delayed during the pandemic.

    I have 500 copies of the book available. When they’re gone, the sale is over and the price will revert to normal.

    Order here .

    EDITED TO ADD: I was able to get another 500 from the publisher, since the first 500 sold out so quickly.

    Please be patient on delivery. There are already 550 orders, and that’s a lot of work to sign and mail. I’m going to be doing them a few at a time over the next several weeks. So all of you people reading this paragraph before ordering, understand that there are a lot of people ahead of you in line.

    EDITED TO ADD (1/16): I am sold out. If I can get more copies, I’ll hold another sale after I sign and mail the 1,000 copies that you all purchased.

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      Dark Archives: Come for the floating goat balls, stay for the fascinating science

      Jennifer Ouellette · / ArsTechnica · Monday, 28 December, 2020 - 00:04 · 1 minute

    These might look like your standard leather-bound texts, but they are actually bound in human skin—a practice known as "anthropodermic bibliopegy." All five are housed in the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.

    Enlarge / These might look like your standard leather-bound texts, but they are actually bound in human skin—a practice known as "anthropodermic bibliopegy." All five are housed in the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. (credit: Mütter Museum/College of Physicians of Philadelphia))

    There's rarely time to write about every cool science-y story that comes our way. So this year, we're once again running a special Twelve Days of Christmas series of posts, highlighting one science story that fell through the cracks in 2020, each day from December 25 through January 5. Today: a look at medical librarian Megan Rosenbloom's book, Dark Archives , about tomes bound in human skin.

    When you think about medical librarians and rare book specialists, chances are you picture them poring over rare tomes in a dusty archives—and chances are, you wouldn't be wrong. But when Megan Rosenbloom set out to separate fact from fiction on the existence of rare books bound in human skin, her investigations took her to some uncommon places—like an artisanal tannery in upstate New York, where the floor resembled "Mountain Dew with chunks floating in it," and emptying drums of tanning effluvia might just unleash a few floating goat testicles among the mix.

    The technical term is " anthropodermic bibliopegy ," and Rosenbloom first became fascinated with this macabre practice in 2008, while she was still in library school and working for a medical publisher. While strolling through the vast collection of medical oddities at the famed Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia , she came upon a glass display case holding an intriguing collection of rare books uncharacteristically displayed with their covers closed. The captions informed her that they had been bound in human skin, along with a leather wallet.

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      Don’t try this at home: George’s Marvelous Medicine is quite toxic

      Jennifer Ouellette · / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 17 December, 2020 - 12:52 · 1 minute

    George's Marvelous Medicine, could be harmful—even fatal—to grandmas, new BMJ study finds.' src='' >

    Enlarge / The concoction featured in Road Dahl's 1981 children's book, George's Marvelous Medicine , could be harmful—even fatal—to grandmas, new BMJ study finds. (credit: YouTube/Storyvision Studios UK )

    Famed children's author Roald Dahl greatly admired doctors who pioneered new medicines, and even dedicated his 1981 book, George's Marvelous Medicine —in which a young boy cooks up a potion using various ingredients around his family farm—to "doctors everywhere." Copies of the book contain a disclaimer to readers, warning them not to try to make George's concoction at home, as it could be dangerous. And now a recent paper published in the annual Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has determined just how toxic the concoction could be if ingested.

    The BMJ's Christmas issue is typically more light-hearted in nature, although the journal maintains that the papers published therein still "adhere to the same high standards of novelty, methodological rigour, reporting transparency, and readability as apply in the regular issue." Past years have included papers on such topics as why 27 is not a dangerous age for musicians, and the side effects of sword swallowing, among others. The most widely read was 1999’s infamous “ Magnetic resonance imaging of male and female genitals during coitus and female sexual arousal .” (We wrote about the paper last year to mark the 20th anniversary of its publication.)

    (Spoilers for the 1981 children's book below.)

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      The madness of Susanna Clarke, fairy princess

      WIRED · / ArsTechnica · Saturday, 26 September, 2020 - 12:45 · 1 minute

    Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell fans, it

    Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell fans, it's a good fall. (credit:

    Do fairies exist? To steal us away, to cast curses, to impurify our bloodlines? Let’s say yes. We have artists, don’t we? Sensitive types, so fragile and retreating. The best of them seem touched by an otherness, an otherlandishness , of being. Maybe a small part of their humanity was bargained away without their knowing. A pinky finger. A left eyeball. That’s why they don’t stomp through the world as the rest of us do, very loudly. On those rare occasions when they’re seen to leave their homes, they sort of flicker—fairly float—across the way. Whatever you do, don’t startle the fairy-people, or you’ll scare them off. Just look at what befell Susanna Clarke.

    In 2004, Clarke published what can only be described as her first dispatch from the land of Faerie. Ten years in the making and 846 (footnoted!) pages long, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell was ethnography, lore. It was as if she’d been there, to England, at the time of Napoleon, when those two infamous magicians, the bookworm Norrell and his perky pupil Strange, tapped into unearthly powers to impress politicians, move mountains, and defeat the French. That’s not how it happened, you say? Why, yes it is. You simply haven’t read your hidden history.


    The events that followed only proved Clarke’s preternatural pedigree. After the publication, in 2006, of The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories , a collection of fairy tales written around the same time, and in the same world, as Strange & Norrell , Clarke went poof. Yumpy. Far, far away. For 14 years. The official story was debilitating mental illness—housebound, couldn’t write—but clearly her fairy patrons had come for her, to reclaim their erstwhile princess. Or else they meant to punish Clarke for her betrayal, for spilling their precious secrets, by enfuzzing her beautiful brain. Something like that. The ways and reasons of the Fae are little known to common folk.

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