Google Announces Open Source JPEG Encoder

Google recently released a new open source JPEG encoder called Geutzli, that promises to reduce the size of high quality JPEGs by up to 35 percent, but at a price–longer encoding times.

The visual quality of JPEG images is directly correlated to its multi-stage compression process: color space transform, discrete cosine transform, and quantization. Guetzli specifically targets the quantization stage in which the more visual quality loss is introduced, the smaller the resulting file. Guetzli strikes a balance between minimal loss and file size by employing a search algorithm that tries to overcome the difference between the psychovisual modeling of JPEG’s format, and Guetzli’s psychovisual model, which approximates color perception and visual masking in a more thorough and detailed way than what is achievable by simpler color transforms and the discrete cosine transform. However, while Guetzli creates smaller image file sizes, the tradeoff is that these search algorithms take significantly longer to create compressed images than currently available methods.

When Google says it takes “significantly longer to create compressed images than currently available methods,” they’re not exaggerating. John Gruber reported it took 8 minutes on a high-end Mac to compress a single iPhone camera image. Other reports on the Internet have suggested the process also consumes very large amounts of RAM while it is working its magic.

 

Were Men Involuntarily Sterilized During the Eugenics Craze In The United States?

The AVClub ran a story about Dakota Johnson starring in a film about Buck v. Bell, a 1927 Supreme Court decision in which involuntary sterilization was upheld by an 8-1 vote. This case is most famous for Oliver Wendell Holmes’ now infamous rejoinder defending the involuntary sterilization of “mental defectives” by writing that “three generations of imbeciles are enough.”

Unfortunately, the AVClub’s headline–Dakota Johnson to tell the fucked-up true story of the government sterilizing “unfit” women”–reinforces a popular idea that it was women alone who were the victims of this practice. On a Facebook discussion of this, people were genuinely confused as to whether or not men had also been the victims of forced sterilization. The answer to that, of course, is yes.

It’s hard to find exact statistics, but I tracked down some details in Rebecca Kluchin’s 2011 book, Fit To Be Tied: Sterilization and Reproductive Rights, 1950-1980. On page 17 of Kluchin’s book, she writes,

Women accounted for 42 percent of sterilizations between 1907 and 1920, but 58 percent of all sterilizations between 1920 and 1940. By 1961, 61 percent of the 62,162 total eugenic sterilizations performed in the United States involved women.

USB Killer Is Back With Version 3

USB Kill recently released its 3rd interation of its USB killing device, the USB Killer V3. According to the product’s description,

The USB Killer is a CE & FCC Approved testing device designed to test the surge protection circuitry of electronics to their limits – and beyond.

When plugged into a device, the USB Killer rapidly charges its capacitors from the USB power lines. When the device is charged, -200VDC is discharged over the data lines of the host device. This charge/discharge cycle is repeated many times per second, until the USB Killer is removed.

Simply put: used on unprotected equipment, the USB Killer instantly and permanently disables unprotected hardware.

Its compact size and flash-drive style housing makes it an important device in every pen-tester’s toolkit.

The USB Kill V3.0 also comes in an anonymous edition: without any logo or branding, in a generic USB Flash Drive case.

As I’ve mentioned in my previous comments on the USB Kill products, although these are intended for testing surge protection–and certainly there may be people who purchase this with malicous intent in mind, this would also be useful for someone such as a political dissident or other person operating outside the law to quickly destroy a laptop or other piece of technology in case the authorities are closing in.

Reby Hardy’s “F*ck That Owl” T-Shirt

After a lot of drama, Anthem Sports bought Impact Wrestling and in early 2017 unveiled what has to be one of the dumbest professional wrestling promotion logos ever.

Anyway, Impact Wrestling was interesting in 2016 because of Matt Hardy’s “Broken Matt Hardy” gimmick which got his entire family involved and was extremely clever for a wrestling gimmick. Anthem, however, brought in new management who wanted to go a different direction, and the Hardy’s left the promotion for Ring of Honor (and, if the rumors are true, for a possible WWE contract at some point).

These things happen, but when Hardy filed a trademark for his gimmick, Impact/Anthem turned around and sued him to gain a portion of the profits from the gimmick for Impact employees that the company claims contributed in significant ways to the gimmick. That prompted Matt Hardy’s wife, Reba, to go on an epic Twitter tirade against the company and release this “Fuck That Owl” t-shirt.

Anthem has since abandoned the owl logo, but not before a “Fuck That Owl” chant erupted at Wrestle Circus.