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More Than 3M Hotel Rooms Can Be Opened With Just Two Taps, Hackers Find (Maria)

The author writes, “When thousands of security researchers descend on Las Vegas every August for what’s come to be known as ‘hacker summer camp,’ the back-to-back Black Hat and Defcon hacker conferences, it’s a given that some of them will experiment with hacking the infrastructure of Vegas itself. … One team of hackers spent those days focused on the lock on the room’s door, perhaps its most sensitive piece of technology of all. Now, more than a year and a half later, they’re finally bringing to light the results of that work: a technique they discovered that would allow an intruder to open any of millions of hotel rooms worldwide in seconds with just two taps.”

Indiana Governor Signs Bill Tying Tenure to Intellectual Diversity (Al)

From Higher Ed Dive: “Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, a Republican, signed a bill into law [this month] that will tie tenure at the state’s public colleges to whether professors promote intellectual diversity and free inquiry. Under the law, faculty members may be denied tenure if they are deemed unlikely to encourage intellectual diversity or expose students to scholarly works from a variety of ideological viewpoints. After receiving tenure, trustee boards will review faculty members along similar criteria every five years.”

What Happens When an AG Dares To Investigate Leonard Leo’s Network (DonkeyHotey)

From Politico: “Allies of Leonard Leo have mounted a monthslong offensive against the man investigating the judicial activist’s network: Washington, D.C., Attorney General Brian Schwalb. Since news of the probe broke last August, the GOP chairs of powerful congressional committees launched their own investigation of Schwalb’s investigation; conservative media wrote articles criticizing Schwalb on unrelated crime issues — based on a social media post from a top Leo lieutenant; and a group of his Republican law enforcement peers sent letters warning Schwalb to stand down.”

Connecticut Supreme Court Sides With MFIA Clinic in Police Records Case (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Media Freedom and Information Access (MFIA) Clinic in its fight for police records from a decade-old homicide case. The ruling supports MFIA’s position that an exception to the state’s open records law for certain activities in ongoing police investigations is narrow. The matter will now be returned to the trial court to apply this standard, which makes it harder for police to withhold files on cold cases. The clinic is calling the ruling last month a win for government accountability.”

Honduras Ratchets up Battle With Crypto-Libertarian Investors, Rejects World Bank Court (Gerry)

The author writes, “A GROUP OF prominent international economists is applauding the recent move by Honduran President Xiomara Castro to push back against American crypto investors attempting to seize billions in public money from the Central American nation. The crypto crew is exploiting a dispute mechanism nested inside the World Bank, created by an obscure provision of the Central America Free Trade Agreement. Castro has deemed the forum, called the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, or ICSID, to be an illegitimate usurpation of Honduran sovereignty and has hit upon an elegant solution: She has taken steps to withdraw Honduras from ICSID. The crypto crowd is crying foul.”

World’s Largest Solar Manufacturer To Cut One-Third of Workforce (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “The world’s largest solar manufacturer has slashed nearly a third of its workforce after a cost-cutting drive that included telling staff to only print in black and white fell short and as a chill ripples through the renewable energy sector. China’s Longi is to cut as much as 30% of its workforce, in an acceleration of cost reductions that began late last year, Bloomberg reported.”

Walmart Heirs Bet Big on Journalism (Laura)

From Civil Eats and Nonprofit Quarterly: “From vast riparian watersheds to fisheries to croplands, few corners of the nation’s — and the world’s — food systems have escaped the eyes of the Walton family. The children and grandchildren of Walmart co-founder Sam Walton have long embedded their interests, and, more importantly, their money, among industry groups, policymakers, academics, activists, and NGOs active in the future of food. Now, they’re expanding their philanthropy to news organizations that report on food, agriculture, and the environment and, in turn, amplifying the family’s other efforts.”

Ten Shipwrecks Found Off the Coast of Greek Island (Dana)

The author writes, “Using Homer’s Iliad and other historical texts as their guide, researchers have identified ten shipwrecks off the coast of Kasos, a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea. Through the Kasos Maritime Archaeological Project, an interdisciplinary team of researchers spent four years exploring the waters around the island at depths of roughly 65 to 154 feet. The group finished its field work in October, and the Greek Ministry of Culture announced the findings [this month].”

From Our Archives

Ukraine: Could MAGA Republicans Plunge the World Into a New Dark Age?

December 14, 2023: “We may still be able to salvage peace for this time by restoring and enhancing aid to our beleaguered ally.”

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