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.
- Bloomberg had a great feature on “Satellite Images Show Economies Growing and Shrinking in Real Time” including Bank colleague Andrew Dabalen and Planet Labs – the satellite imaging startup that the World Bank Group’s IFC recently led a series C investment round in.
- The folks over at Open Data Watch have produced a set of “Data Impacts Case Studies” – great material to read and to use when making the case for investment in data and data use. On a related note, Open Knowledge have launched a discussion paper “Democratizing the Data Revolution” which is also worth a look.
- 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.
- The Pew Research Center produced a superb interactive visualization on “The World Population by Income” which uses data from the Bank’s Povcalnet (via the Harvard Dataverse). On the subject of poverty data, my colleagues Umar and Nobuo are featured in a new video explaining why 77 is their “favorite number”
- 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 “worldbank.org” may accidentally type “worldbnak.org” 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 “cnn.com” into “con.com” and it turns out that at “internet-scale” this kind of error is rare but very detectable.
- And if you’ll excuse a little self-promotion, I wrote a bit about the World Population Project tool at population.io after discovering that I’m older than 54% of the world’s population.
- Finally, next time someone says “Data driven” try not to think about this 🙂