Data Lab Link Roundup: Data impacts, satellite economics, bitsquatting, a favorite number, giving trees email addresses and more…

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An example of a bit-error changing a URL as part of Artem Dinaburg’s bitsquatting post  

Here are some (of the rather a lot of) things that caught our attention last week.

  • Brandon Rishel’s “Cartographers Without Borders” map has been doing the rounds – it’s a map showing just the world’s timezones. It is weirder than you’d expect.
  • I’m a huge fan of creative open data /  civic engagement initiatives such as “Adopt a Hydrant”. Cities are in a unique position to experiment with this kind of approach, but when the City of Melbourne assigned trees with email addresses so citizens could report problems, citizens also took some time to pen little love letters to their favorite trees. This is my kind of Internet of Things.

  • I had to read Artem Dinaburg’s “Bitsquatting: DNS Hijacking without exploitation” twice before I could believe it but sure enough: just as it’s possible to squat domains to catch typos, it’s also possible to do so to exploit bit-level memory errors. For example, someone looking for “” may accidentally type “” which (and I’m not suggesting you do this…) could be registered by someone else to attract stray traffic. But a single bit-flip can turn the address “” into “” and it turns out that at “internet-scale” this kind of error is rare but very detectable.
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