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Are You Ready For Cicadapocalypse?

By / 05.07.11

Cidadapocalypse!™ (We Trademarked It Before SyFy Could.)

Cyclical cicadas [genus Magicicada . . . does that mean "magic cicadas"?  We hope so.] in the “Great Southern Brood” are emerging again after a 13-year slumber one foot (30 cm) underground.  The cicadas in this brood cycle every 13 years, breeding like crazy during the summer months in several southern states, especially Missouri.  The first cicadas in this group have already been spotted in Georgia.  And here’s a scary thought, since some cicada broods are on a 13-year cycle while others are on a 17-year cycle, two huge broods can awake in the same location at the same time.  The large Great Southern Brood and the 17-year cycle brood IV cicadas are set to simultaneously overtake Missouri in the year 2219.  That is not dead which can eternal lie. And with strange aeons even death may die.  In other words, AAAAAA!  CICADAS EVERYWHERE!

Privacy Invasions All Over The Place

LastPass, an online password management browser extension which advertizes itself as “the last password you’ll have to remember” is now letting customers know it’s also the first password you should change immediately.  LastPass CEO Joe Siegrist is erring on the side of caution after hackers breached a database and may have downloaded user emails and encrypted passwords.  The company says users with strong passwords (a mix of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and special characters, preferably at least 14 characters long) are unlikely to have their password stolen.  Customers using “butt” as their password should change it immediately.  However, users should only attempt to change their password from their usual IP address and verify with the email registered on the site.  LastPass is blocking password change requests from mobile devices and unrecognized IP addresses that can’t provide email verification.  In an interview with PCWorld, LastPass CEO Joe Siegrist said only a very small number of users (“on the orders of tens of users out of millions”) with weak passwords should change their master password and their passwords for their email, bank accounts, etc.  Don’t change it to “butt”.

In a much creepier breach of privacy, rent-to-own store Aaron’s — with over 1,500 locations in the U.S. and Canada — is being sued for putting a software called “PC Rental Agent” on its rental computers since 2007.  A couple in Wyoming have filed a class-action suit after discovering the software was spying on them without their knowledge or consent.  The software can work as a keylogger, saving everything typed on the keyboard including passwords and private correspondence, and it also regularly takes photos of the users via their webcams.  How did Aaron’s get caught?  After the couple made the last payment on the computer, Aaron’s mixed up the paperwork and assumed the one final payment was overdue.  The store manager came to the couple’s home to repossess the computer over that last payment.  When they argued it was all paid off, the manager showed them a webcam picture of one of them using the computer as some sort of proof, which led them to ask, “Uh . . . how did you get this?”  Oops.


  • Cicadas about to awaken from 13 year slumber.  Cicada R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. (80beats)
  • The “last password you’ll have to remember” needs to be changed. (LifeHacker)
  • LastPass CEO Joe Siegrist explains the extent of the hack in more depth, erred on the side of caution. (PCWorld)
  • Rent-to-own chain store Aaron’s caught putting keyloggers and webcam spying software on customers’ computers. (ArsTechnica)



  • A car stolen in Johannesburg, South Africa contained samples of a potentially infectious polio virus in transit to a research facility.  Authorities believe the thieves were not terrorists and were unaware of the polio onboard, which they may be opening and getting sick from right now.  Poliownd.  (Telegraph)
  • In an attempt to reduce traffic, revitalize the inner city, and bring in more taxpayers, the Office of Planning in Washington, D.C. is testing out a program which will pay people $6,000 — to be matched with an additional $6,000 from their employer — to move closer to their workplace, which is great when most people don’t work at the same building for very long.  The pilot program is intended to pay only 60 people in the first wave, and they must move within 2 miles of work or within half a mile of a Metro station or within a quarter mile of certain bus lines. (FastCompany)



  • A new study by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund makes the shocking claim that 47% of Detroit residents studied were functionally illiterate.  They should have listened to Nic Cage. (CBS, picture via JuliaSegal)
  • For the first time since 1992, TV ownership this year is lower than the previous year according to new figures released by Nielsen.  Last year 98.9% of households owned at least one TV; this year that number was 96.7%.  Rural, low-income households were the most likely to be going without TVs. (Mashable)
  • Speaking of low incomes, here’s a depressing infographic comparing the number of job openings in the fastest-growing careers to the number of new graduates seeking a job in that field.  Spoiler alert: every fast-growing career field with more job openings than available new workers pays less than $19 per hour, with most of the careers paying less than $10.  Hmm, maybe being literate doesn’t make much of a difference anymore after all. (VisualLoop)


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