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Sorting algorithms visualized with animated color palette

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I bet you woke up this morning thinking, “I haven’t seen a good visualization of sorting algorithms in at least a week. I wish someone would get on that.” Well here you go. Wish granted.

See also sorting algorithms explained with dance, books, and sound. And while we’re at it, don’t forget Mike Bostock’s visual essay on visualizing algorithms.

[Thanks @SimStolz]

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economyaki
25 days ago
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this is mesmerizing
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Peek Inside Dries Van Noten’s Beautiful 11-Pound Book

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Fashion runs in Dries Van Noten’s blood — his father owned a boutique in Antwerp, Belgium, and his grandfather was a tailor. As a child, he attended menswear shows across Europe with his father, which sparked his interest in design. He became the most successful of the “Antwerp Six,”...More »

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economyaki
33 days ago
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Experian Site Can Give Anyone Your Credit Freeze PIN

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An alert reader recently pointed my attention to a free online service offered by big-three credit bureau Experian that allows anyone to request the personal identification number (PIN) needed to unlock a consumer credit file that was previously frozen at Experian.

Experian's page for retrieving someone's credit freeze PIN requires little more information than has already been leaked by big-three bureau Equifax and a myriad other breaches.

Experian’s page for retrieving someone’s credit freeze PIN requires little more information than has already been leaked by big-three bureau Equifax and a myriad other breaches.

The first hurdle for instantly revealing anyone’s freeze PIN is to provide the person’s name, address, date of birth and Social Security number (all data that has been jeopardized in breaches 100 times over — including in the recent Equifax breach — and that is broadly for sale in the cybercrime underground).

After that, one just needs to input an email address to receive the PIN and swear that the information is true and belongs to the submitter. I’m certain this warning would deter all but the bravest of identity thieves!

The final authorization check is that Experian asks you to answer four so-called “knowledge-based authentication” or KBA questions. As I have noted in countless stories published here previously, the problem with relying on KBA questions to authenticate consumers online is that so much of the information needed to successfully guess the answers to those multiple-choice questions is now indexed or exposed by search engines, social networks and third-party services online — both criminal and commercial.

What’s more, many of the companies that provide and resell these types of KBA challenge/response questions have been hacked in the past by criminals that run their own identity theft services.

“Whenever I’m faced with KBA-type questions I find that database tools like Spokeo, Zillow, etc are my friend because they are more likely to know the answers for me than I am,” said Nicholas Weaver, a senior researcher in networking and security for the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI).

The above quote from Mr. Weaver came in a story from May 2017 which looked at how identity thieves were able to steal financial and personal data for over a year from TALX, an Equifax subsidiary that provides online payroll, HR and tax services. Equifax says crooks were able to reset the 4-digit PIN given to customer employees as a password and then steal W-2 tax data after successfully answering KBA questions about those employees.

In short: Crooks and identity thieves broadly have access to the data needed to reliably answer KBA questions on most consumers. That is why this offering from Experian completely undermines the entire point of placing a freeze. 

After discovering this portal at Experian, I tried to get my PIN, but the system failed and told me to submit the request via mail. That’s fine and as far as I’m concerned the way it should be. However, I also asked my followers on Twitter who have freezes in place at Experian to test it themselves. More than a dozen readers responded in just a few minutes, and most of them reported success at retrieving their PINs on the site and via email after answering the KBA questions.

Here’s a sample of the KBA questions the site asked one reader:

1. Please select the city that you have previously resided in.

2. According to our records, you previously lived on (XXTH). Please choose the city from the following list where this street is located.

3. Which of the following people live or previously lived with you at the address you provided?

4. Please select the model year of the vehicle you purchased or leased prior to July 2017 .

Experian will display the freeze PIN on its site, and offer to send it to an email address of your choice.

Experian will display the freeze PIN on its site, and offer to send it to an email address of your choice. Image: Rob Jacques.

I understand if people who place freezes on their credit files are prone to misplacing the PIN provided by the bureaus that is needed to unlock or thaw a freeze. This is human nature, and the bureaus should absolutely have a reliable process to recover this PIN. However, the information should be sent via snail mail to the address on the credit record, not via email to any old email address.

This is yet another example of how someone or some entity other than the credit bureaus needs to be in put in charge of rethinking and rebuilding the process by which consumers apply for and manage credit freezes. I addressed some of these issues — as well as other abuses by the credit reporting bureaus — in the second half of a long story published Wednesday evening.

Experian has not yet responded to requests for comment.

While this service is disappointing, I stand by my recommendation that everyone should place a freeze on their credit files. I published a detailed Q&A a few days ago about why this is so important and how you can do it. For those wondering about whether it’s possible and advisable to do this for their kids or dependents, check out The Lowdown on Freezing Your Kid’s Credit.

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economyaki
60 days ago
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1 public comment
aranth
61 days ago
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lol

Delta Goes Big, Then Goes Home – Flightradar24 Blog

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In the face of a category 5 hurricane, Delta Air Lines meteorologists, dispatchers, pilots, cabin crew, and ground crew accomplished an incredible feat on Wednesday. As Hurricane Irma bore down San Juan, Puerto Rico, Delta sent one last flight to help evacuate a few hundred people from San Juan just before the airport closed.

DL431 approaching San Juan, Puerto Rico

Other airlines also launched flights on Wednesday morning, but those either arrived in San Juan as the winds were too strong to land or turned back before reaching Puerto Rico.

Other flights returned to their origin airports

Delta managed to time the arrival just right and DL431 landed at 11:58 local time.

DL431 landing in San Juan

Less than an hour later, the flight was back in the air to New York as Delta 302.

As DL302 departed, it followed the gap between Irma’s outer band and the core of the storm, allowing the aircraft to navigate in relatively calm air.

DL302 departing San Juan in between two bands of Hurricane Irma

Delta 302 landed back in New York at 16:15 local time, 46 minutes ahead of schedule.

Delta 302’s path back to New York

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economyaki
75 days ago
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Terry Pratchett's unpublished works crushed by steamroller

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A hard drive containing unfinished works by Terry Pratchett has been crushed by a steamroller, as per instructions left by the fantasy novelist.

It is thought up to 10 incomplete novels were flattened at the Great Dorset Steam Fair.

The six-and-a-half tonne Lord Jericho was used to roll over the hard drive several times before a concrete crusher finished off the remains.

Pratchett died aged 66 in March 2015.

The creator of the Discworld series had been battling Alzheimer's disease.

Before vanquishing the hard drive, Rob Wilkins, the writer's long-serving assistant, tweeted that he was "about to fulfil my obligation to Terry".

  • 70 million sales

  • 37 languages

  • 44 years of writing

Richard Henry, curator of Salisbury Museum, said: "The steamroller totally annihilated the stone blocks underneath but the hard drive survived better than expected so we put it in a stone crusher afterwards which I think probably finally did it in".

He said Pratchett did not want his unpublished works to be completed by someone else and released.

He added: "It's something you've got to follow, and it's really nice that they have followed his requests so specifically.

"It's surprisingly difficult to find somebody to run over a hard drive with a steamroller.

"I think a few people thought we were kidding when I first started putting out feelers to see if it was possible or not."

The pieces of the hard drive will go on display in the Terry Pratchett: His World Exhibition at the museum on 16 September.

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economyaki
83 days ago
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Kinokuniya Keeps Growing In the U.S.

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With 12 stores and counting, Japanese bookseller Kinokuniya is slowly expanding its footprint in the U.S. The most recently opened locations are in Texas. The first site it picked was in Plano, but the company soon realized it was too small so it found a larger location. The 5,000-sq.-ft. outlet in Carrollton opened in February and an 1,800-sq.-ft. shop in nearby Plano opened in April.

Asked why the company opened two stores in such close proximity to each other, Shige Ono, general manager of Kinokuniya USA, said it was a pragmatic decision. “Toyota moved its headquarters from Torrance, Calif., to Plano last year, so we saw an opportunity to cater to the thousands of Japanese engineers, executives, and members of their families who will be moving there.”

Kinokuniya is headquartered in Tokyo and has 100 stores worldwide, including locations across Asia, in the U.S., and in Dubai. Its first American store opened in San Francisco in 1969, and today its American head office is in New York City, at the chain’s branch near Bryant Park, which, at 26,000 sq. ft., is its largest location in the U.S. Other locations in the U.S. include five stores in California and one each in Chicago, New Jersey, Portland, and Seattle, as well as five stationery stores under the brand name Mitsuwa.

“We are expanding slowly and deliberately,” Ono said. “Just one or two stores per year. Last year was phenomenal, as we saw double-digit percentage increases at our stores. This year’s increases are more modest, ranging from about 5%-8%, depending on the store, but we are still very happy with the continuous growth. Adding new stores helped further increase the total sales for the company.”

The product mix at Kinokuniya stores encompasses a wide range of books—of which 30% are in Japanese—and sidelines, including manga, anime-related toys, games, and other media. “Our line of Japanese manga and anime is unsurpassed in North America,” Ono said. “A big part of the appeal for customers is that we have things you cannot buy anywhere else. We have a special relationship with [publisher] Kadokawa, and they work exclusively with us on many items. Manga is definitely the strongest category, but fashion and design is also very popular. Another strong category is literature; what makes us unique is that we specialize in literary works from around the world, especially Japanese and Asian authors.”

Ono stresses that the authentic Japanese products are part of what has helped the company keep a foothold in a very competitive marketplace. Still, the retailer is a bookseller first, with nonbook items representing 20%–40% of stock, depending on location.

The stores, said Ono, serve as “ambassadors” for Japanese culture to American shoppers. The demographic of customers shopping at the stores has changed over time. “My impression is that, 20 years ago, more than half of our customers came from Japanese backgrounds,” Ono said. “Today, that number is probably down to about 20% or less.”

As such, Kinokuniya is becoming more active in its stores’ communities. The two bookstores in Texas recently participated in Texas Independent Bookstore Day, the New York store routinely holds author events and book signings in conjunction with Bryant Park, and several of the California stores hold children story-time readings and offer classes in Japanese subjects, such as origami paper folding.

The stores are in no way standardized. “Our goal is to give each store the appeal of an independent bookstore, rather than the cold feel of a massive corporation,” Ono said. “Our slogan is ‘read books, meet people,’ and tailoring our stores to the surrounding communities is a key part of making that slogan a reality. If you compare our stores in Texas, New York, Tokyo, and Singapore, you will be surprised at how much they differ. But they, as a whole, form the Kinokuniya brand, of which we are very proud. We strive to make Kinokuniya not just a place to buy books, but a place where people come together and enjoy the experience.”

A version of this article appeared in the 08/28/2017 issue of Publishers Weekly under the headline: Kinokuniya Seeing Steady Growth In the U.S.

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economyaki
84 days ago
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whoever their ny/nj buyer is, he/she has got amazing taste.
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