A timely reminder to use strong passwords

You may have read about a security breach at Gawker Media, the company behind several websites including Lifehacker.

The server files have been posted at various locations around the web, so I thought I’d take a look. Finding your own email address and decrypted password in a file obtained online is a sobering experience, I can tell you. Fortunately, it was not a password that I use elsewhere, so no damage done. It was, however, a ridiculously “soft” password (all digits, if you must know).

Of course, my thoughts soon turned to data analysis. A quick and dirty bash one-liner reveals the top 10 passwords…
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Poor reporting: the anti-freeze that wasn’t

Generally, I don’t cover “mainstream” science reporting, but this is too poor to let it pass.

Nature Genetics features a fascinating article about the properties of haemoglobin from the extinct woolly mammoth. Briefly, the researchers sequenced DNA encoding haemoglobin subunits from a sample of mammoth bone and compared it with that of modern elephants. They then altered the modern elephant DNA sequence to match that of the mammoth, expressed mammoth and elephant protein in E. coli and compared the oxygen affinity of each protein. Their conclusion: the amino acid substitutions in mammoth haemoglobin result in an enhanced ability to release oxygen to tissues at low temperature.

You will not find the words “anti-freeze” anywhere in the article. Bear that in mind, as we survey the reporting of this story by various news outlets:

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