Open Source Could Be a Casualty of the Trade War
ideologically, a core tenant of open source is non-discriminatory empowerment. When I was introduced to open source in the 90’s, the chief “bad guy” was Microsoft – people wanted to defend against “embrace, extend, extinguish” corporate practices, and by homesteading on the technological frontier with GNU/Linux we were ensuring that our livelihoods, independence, and security would never be beholden to a hostile corporate power.

Now, the world has changed. Our open source code may end up being labeled as enabling a “foreign adversary”. I never suspected that I could end up on the “wrong side” of politics by being a staunch advocate of open source, but here I am. My open source mission is to empower people to be technologically independent; to know that technology is not magic, so that nobody will ever be a slave to technology. This is true even if that means resisting my own government. The erosion of freedom starts with restricting access to “foreign adversaries”, and ends with the government arbitrarily picking politically convenient winners and losers to participate in the open source ecosystem.

Freedom means freedom, and I will stand to defend it.

Now that the US is carpet-bombing Huawei’s supply chain, I fear there is no turning back. The language already written into EO13873 sets the stage to threaten open source as a whole by drawing geopolitical and national security borders over otherwise non-discriminatory development efforts. While I still hold hope that the trade war could de-escalate, the proliferation and stockpiling of powerful anti-trade weapons like EO13873 is worrisome. Now is the time to raise awareness of the threat this poses to the open source world, so that we can prepare and come together to protect the freedoms we cherish the most.

I hope, in all earnestness, that open source shall not be a casualty of this trade war.
open-source  business  china  economics  huawei  us-politics  trade-war  oss  gnu  linux 
june 2019
Soonish: The Lost Chapter
"Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything" -- Advanced Nuclear Power
nukes  nuclear-power  power  future  soonish  smbc  tech  reactors 
june 2019
Download Starburst Distribution of Presto
Starburst's free distro of Presto; there are additional enterprise features which require a license key but the basic distro is OSS. Docs at https://docs.starburstdata.com/latest/index.html
starburst  presto  aws  ops  software 
june 2019
A free Argo Tunnel for your next project
Argo Tunnel lets you expose a server to the Internet without opening any ports. The service runs a lightweight process on your server that creates outbound tunnels to the Cloudflare network. Instead of managing DNS, network, and firewall complexity, Argo Tunnel helps administrators serve traffic from their origin through Cloudflare with a single command. [....]

Starting today, any user, even those without a Cloudflare account, can try this new method of connecting their server to the Internet. Argo Tunnel can now be used in a free model that will create a new URL, known only to you, that will proxy traffic to your server. We’re excited to make connecting a server to the Internet more accessible for everyone.
cloudflare  internet  tunnel  servers  ports  tunnelling  ops  free 
june 2019
Climate change: I work in the environmental movement. I don’t care if you recycle. - Vox
While we’re busy testing each other’s purity, we let the government and industries — the authors of said devastation — off the hook completely. This overemphasis on individual action shames people for their everyday activities, things they can barely avoid doing because of the fossil fuel-dependent system they were born into. In fact, fossil fuels supply more than 75 percent of the US energy system. If we want to function in society, we have no choice but to participate in that system. To blame us for that is to shame us for our very existence.

[...] But that doesn’t mean we do nothing. Climate change is a vast and complicated problem, and that means the answer is complicated too. We need to let go of the idea that it’s all of our individual faults, then take on the collective responsibility of holding the true culprits accountable. In other words, we need to become many Davids against one big, bad Goliath.
activism  climate  environment  green  climate-change  future  fossil-fuels  society 
june 2019
TCP SACK PANIC - Kernel vulnerabilities - CVE-2019-11477, CVE-2019-11478 & CVE-2019-11479 - Red Hat Customer Portal
Three related flaws were found in the Linux kernel’s handling of TCP networking.  The most severe vulnerability could allow a remote attacker to trigger a kernel panic in systems running the affected software and, as a result, impact the system’s availability.

The issues have been assigned multiple CVEs: CVE-2019-11477 is considered an Important severity, whereas CVE-2019-11478 and CVE-2019-11479 are considered a Moderate severity. 

The first two are related to the Selective Acknowledgement (SACK) packets combined with Maximum Segment Size (MSS), the third solely with the Maximum Segment Size (MSS).

These issues are corrected either through applying mitigations or kernel patches.  Mitigation details and links to RHSA advsories can be found on the RESOLVE tab of this article.

tcp  sack  ip  security  vulnerabilities  kernel  bugs 
june 2019
Why women leave academia and why universities should be worried
I couldn't agree more with this, having seen it happen first-hand:
The participants in the study identify many characteristics of academic careers that they find unappealing: the constant hunt for funding for research projects is a significant impediment for both men and women. But women in greater numbers than men see academic careers as all-consuming, solitary and as unnecessarily competitive.

Both men and women PhD candidates come to realise that a string of post-docs is part of a career path, and they see that this can require frequent moves and a lack of security about future employment. Women are more negatively affected than men by the competitiveness in this stage of an academic career and their concerns about competitiveness are fuelled, they say, by a relative lack of self-confidence.

Women more than men see great sacrifice as a prerequisite for success in academia. This comes in part from their perception of women who have succeeded, from the nature of the available role models. Successful female professors are perceived by female PhD candidates as displaying masculine characteristics, such as aggression and competitiveness, and they were often childless.

As if all this were not enough, women PhD candidates had one experience that men never have. They were told that they would encounter problems along the way simply because they are women. They are told, in other words, that their gender will work against them. [...]

Universities will not survive as research institutions unless university leadership realises that the working conditions they offer dramatically reduce the size of the pool from which they recruit. We will not survive because we have no reason to believe we are attracting the best and the brightest. When industry is the more attractive employer, our credibility as the home of long-term, cutting edge, high-risk, profoundly creative research, is diminished.

(via Aoife McLysaght)
women  life  university  third-level  careers  research  via:aoifemcl 
june 2019
Undocumented Amazon S3 APIs and third-party extensions: GET object by multipart number; AWS Java SDK partNumber; Multipart Upload ETag. (via Last Week in AWS)
via:lwia  s3  undocumented  hacks  aws  apis 
june 2019
The Surprising Reason that There Are So Many Thai Restaurants in America - VICE
Turns out the Thai government has taken a leaf from Guinness' book:
The Ministry of Commerce’s Department of Export Promotion [..] drew up prototypes for three different “master restaurants,” which investors could choose as a sort of prefabricated restaurant plan, from aesthetic to menu offerings. Elephant Jump would be the fast casual option, at $5 to $15 per person; Cool Basil would be the mid-priced option at $15 to $25 a head; and the Golden Leaf prototype would cost diners $25 to $30, with décor featuring “authentic Thai fabrics and objets d’art.” (Does your favorite Thai spot have objets d’art? The restaurant may have been built from a government prototype.)

(Guinness do exactly the same thing for Irish pubs worldwide.)
cuisine  culture  food  government  marketing  thai  thailand  guinness  restaurants  franchising 
june 2019
Show HN: Enviro+ for Raspberry Pi – Environmental sensors
HN thread and linked Pimoroni gadget. UKP45 for a nice environmental sensor board
electronics  iot  projects  sensors  environment  raspberry-pi  gadgets 
june 2019
Humans Are Growing Weird, Bone Spikes on Their Skulls. Smartphones May Be the Culprit
The strange story of the external occipital protuberance --

'A cause-and-effect relationship hasn't been identified, but it's possible that the spike comes from constantly bending one's neck at uncomfortable angles to look at smart devices. The human head is heavy, weighing about 10 lbs. (4.5 kilograms), and tilting it forward to look at funny cat photos (or however you spend your smartphone time) can strain the neck — hence the crick people sometimes get, known as "text neck." Text neck can increase pressure on the juncture where the neck muscles attach to the skull, and the body likely responds by laying down new bone, which leads to that spiky bump, Shahar told the BBC. This spike distributes the weight of the head over a larger area, he said.'
text-neck  bones  skull-spike  smartphones  future  medicine 
june 2019
The New Wilderness (Idle Words)
Our discourse around privacy needs to expand to address foundational questions about the role of automation: To what extent is living in a surveillance-saturated world compatible with pluralism and democracy? What are the consequences of raising a generation of children whose every action feeds into a corporate database? What does it mean to be manipulated from an early age by machine learning algorithms that adaptively learn to shape our behavior?
facebook  google  privacy  future  dystopia  surveillance  society 
june 2019
Jigsaw Bought a Russian Twitter Troll Campaign as an Experiment
"Let's say I want to wage a disinformation campaign to attack a political opponent or a company, but I don’t have the infrastructure to create my own Internet Research Agency," Gully told WIRED in an interview, speaking publicly about Jigsaw's year-old disinformation experiment for the first time. "We wanted to see if we could engage with someone who was willing to provide this kind of assistance to a political actor ... to buy services that directly discredit their political opponent for very low cost and with no tooling or resources required. For us, it’s a pretty clear demonstration these capabilities exist, and there are actors comfortable doing this on the internet."

it cost just $250.
disinformation  fakes  disinfo  fake-news  russia  trolls  jigsaw  social-media 
june 2019
An Orbit Map of the Solar System
This week’s map shows the orbits of more than 18000 asteroids in the solar system. This includes everything we know of that’s over 10km in diameter - about 10000 asteroids - as well as 8000 randomized objects of unknown size. This map shows each asteroid at its exact position on New Years’ Eve 1999. All of the data for this map is shared by NASA and open to the public.

Really lovely stuff!
astronomy  dataviz  map  space  visualization  asteroids  planets  posters  moons  solar-system 
june 2019
New Spam Campaign Controlled by Attackers via DNS TXT Records
Ah, Google, what were you thinking?
When decoded, this string is an URL to Google's public DNS resolve for a particular domain. For example, the above string decodes to https://dns.google.com/resolve?name=fetch.vxpapub.[omitted].net&type=TXT.

The attachment's script will use this URL to retrieve the associated domain's TXT record.
A TXT record is a DNS entry that can be used to store textual data. This field is typically used for SPF or DMARC records, but could be used to host any type of textual content.

The nice part about using the Google's DNS resolver is that the information will be returned as JSON, which makes it easy for the malicious script to extract the data it needs.

(via Paul Vixie)
txt  dns  google  resolvers  spam  fail  security  via:paulvixie 
june 2019
Fans Are Better Than Tech at Organizing Information Online
Fans tag the content, but then -- volunteers consolidate and aggregate those tags:
On AO3, users can put in whatever tags they want. (Autocomplete is there to help, but they don't have to use it.) Then behind the scenes, human volunteers look up any new tags that no one else has used before and match them with any applicable existing tags, a process known as tag wrangling. Wrangling means that you don't need to know whether the most popular tag for your new fanfic featuring Sherlock Holmes and John Watson is Johnlock or Sherwatson or John/Sherlock or Sherlock/John or Holmes/Watson or anything else. And you definitely don't need to tag your fic with all of them just in case. Instead, you pick whichever one you like, the tag wranglers do their work behind the scenes, and readers looking for any of these synonyms will still be able to find you.
folksonomy  tagging  tags  taxonomy  fans  fandom  archival  archives  fanfic 
june 2019
The Making of a YouTube Radical - The New York Times
Near the end of our interview, I told Mr. Cain that I found it odd that he had successfully climbed out of a right-wing YouTube rabbit hole, only to jump into a left-wing YouTube rabbit hole. I asked if he had considered cutting back on his video intake altogether, and rebuild some of his offline relationships.

He hesitated, and looked slightly confused. For all of its problems, he said, YouTube is still where political battles are fought and won. Leaving the platform would essentially mean abandoning the debate.

He conceded, though, that he needed to think critically about the videos he watched.

“YouTube is the place to put out a message,” he said. “But I’ve learned now that you can’t go to YouTube and think that you’re getting some kind of education, because you’re not.”
youtube  politics  nytimes  racism  right-wing  dystopia 
june 2019
Multi-Sensor IoT Environmental Sensor Box With CircuitPython
Just add a power outlet and a WiFi network and stream time and location stamped environmental readings to AdafruitIO.
adafruit  sensors  iot  maker  hacks  air-quality  temperature  environment  metrics 
june 2019
Internet-Scale analysis of AWS Cognito Security
Just published the white-paper for my latest research: Internet-Scale analysis of AWS Cognito Security. The white-paper contains the methodology and results of an internet-scale security analysis of AWS Cognito configurations. The research identified 2500 identity pools, which were used to gain access to more than 13000 S3 buckets (which are not publicly exposed), 1200 DynamoDB tables and 1500 Lambda functions.

(via Ben Bridts)
aws  cognito  security  s3  dynamodb  scanning  whitepapers 
june 2019
Irish National Open Research Forum national framework published
"All Irish scholarly publications resulting from publicly-funded research will be openly available by default from 2020 onwards and will be accessible on an ongoing basis." (via Don Marti)
via:donmarti  open  open-access  science  public  ireland  funding  research 
june 2019
Nearly Divisionless Random Integer Generation On Various Systems
Naively, you could take the random integer and compute the remainder of the division by the size of the interval. It works because the remainder of the division by D is always smaller than D. Yet it introduces a statistical bias. You can do better without being slower. The conventional techniques supported in Java and Go require at least one or two integer division per integer generated. Unfortunately, division instructions are relatively expensive.

This algorithm is a practically-divisionless approach which performs a good bit faster on all 3 tested architectures.
performance  hacks  algorithms  division  modulo  random  integers  speed 
june 2019
Carnival Cruise Line to pay a $20M fine over pollution
Carnival’s pollution problem is so bad that across its fleet, the large boats pollute 10 times more than all 260 million of Europe’s cars. That tidbit comes courtesy of a study by the European think tank Transport & Environment, which looked at 203 cruise ships sailing European waters in 2017.

The report also found that besides over-tourism and crashing into ports, there’s a good reason for European cities to dislike cruise ships: they are emitting sulfur dioxide all over the place. If you can’t keep your pollutants straight, sulfur dioxide causes both acid rain and lung cancer. Cruise lines, it turns out, have been dropping the gas all over Europe; the report says Barcelona, Palma Mallorca, and Venice were the cities worst affected by sulfur dioxide emissions. Per the FT, “sulfur dioxide emissions from cars was 3.2m kt versus 62m kt from cruise ships, with Carnival accounting for half that, the study found.”
carnival  cruises  cruise-ships  pollution  europe  eu  driving  environment  climate-change 
june 2019
two-thirds of cyclists with disabilities find cycling easier than walking
and other facts about disabled cyclists. This is very thought-provoking stuff.
According to a recent study by Wheels for Well-being, a British organization of disabled cyclists, 15 percent of people with disabilities cycle, compared with 18 percent of the general population. Moreover, two-thirds of cyclists with disabilities find cycling easier than walking, the group says.

Clearly, bikes are not just a mode of transit, but function as mobility devices for many disabled people. I find it ableist, or prejudiced against the disabled, when we consider e-bikes and other adaptive-cycling methods as “inferior.” Many of us can ride a traditional two-wheeled bicycle, but others simply can’t.
cycling  disability  accessibility  cities  design  cycles  disabled 
june 2019
France Bans Judge Analytics, 5 Years In Prison For Rule Breakers

‘The identity data of magistrates and members of the judiciary cannot be reused with the purpose or effect of evaluating, analysing, comparing or predicting their actual or alleged professional practices.’

As far as Artificial Lawyer understands, this is the very first example of such a ban anywhere in the world. Insiders in France told Artificial Lawyer that the new law is a direct result of an earlier effort to make all case law easily accessible to the general public, which was seen at the time as improving access to justice and a big step forward for transparency in the justice sector.

However, judges in France had not reckoned on NLP and machine learning companies taking the public data and using it to model how certain judges behave in relation to particular types of legal matter or argument, or how they compare to other judges.

In short, they didn’t like how the pattern of their decisions – now relatively easy to model – were potentially open for all to see.
censorship  france  analytics  judgements  legal  judges  statistics 
june 2019
The Existential Crisis Plaguing Online Extremism Researchers
Oh god. This, so much:
Many researchers in the field cut their teeth as techno-optimists, studying the positive aspects of the internet—like bringing people together to enhance creativity or further democratic protest, á la the Arab Spring—says Marwick. But it didn’t last.

The past decade has been an exercise in dystopian comeuppance to the utopian discourse of the '90s and ‘00s. Consider Gamergate, the Internet Research Agency, fake news, the internet-fueled rise of the so-called alt-right, Pizzagate, QAnon, Elsagate and the ongoing horrors of kids YouTube, Facebook’s role in fanning the flames of genocide, Cambridge Analytica, and so much more.

“In many ways, I think it [the malaise] is a bit about us being let down by something that many of us really truly believed in,” says Marwick. Even those who were more realistic about tech—and foresaw its misuse—are stunned by the extent of the problem, she says. “You have to come to terms with the fact that not only were you wrong, but even the bad consequences that many of us did foretell were nowhere near as bad as the actual consequences that either happened or are going to happen.”

[.....] “It's not that one of our systems is broken; it's not even that all of our systems are broken,” says Phillips. “It's that all of our systems are working ... toward the spread of polluted information and the undermining of democratic participation.”

(via Paul Moloney)
future  grim  dystopia  tech  optimism  web  internet  gamergate  wired  via:oceanclub 
june 2019
An update on Sunday’s service disruption | Google Cloud Blog
Google posting the most inappropriately upbeat post-mortem I've ever read...
In essence, the root cause of Sunday’s disruption was a configuration change that was intended for a small number of servers in a single region. The configuration was incorrectly applied to a larger number of servers across several neighboring regions, and it caused those regions to stop using more than half of their available network capacity. The network traffic to/from those regions then tried to fit into the remaining network capacity, but it did not. The network became congested, and our networking systems correctly triaged the traffic overload and dropped larger, less latency-sensitive traffic in order to preserve smaller latency-sensitive traffic flows, much as urgent packages may be couriered by bicycle through even the worst traffic jam.

Google’s engineering teams detected the issue within seconds, but diagnosis and correction took far longer than our target of a few minutes. Once alerted, engineering teams quickly identified the cause of the network congestion, but the same network congestion which was creating service degradation also slowed the engineering teams’ ability to restore the correct configurations, prolonging the outage. The Google teams were keenly aware that every minute which passed represented another minute of user impact, and brought on additional help to parallelize restoration efforts.
gcp  google  odd  outages  post-mortems  networking 
june 2019
Changing my Mind about AI, Universal Basic Income, and the Value of Data
In this piece I’ll be talking about two particular bits of rhetoric that have found an apparently unlikely partnership in the past five years. The impending obsolescence of humanity locked eyes across the room with a utopian vision of all-powerful AI that sees to all our needs. They started a forbidden romance that has since enthralled even the most serious tech industry leaders.

I myself was enthralled with the story at first, but more recently I’ve come to believe it may end in tragedy.
ai  philosophy  ubi  future  tech 
june 2019
"Insert Coin" Key Chain
RepliCade Insert Coin keychains are constructed from a traditional blend of diecast metal and plastic. Push the coin return button to activate LED illumination for 30 seconds. This 1:1 scale arcade-accurate replica metal coin return key chain stands 2" tall and weighs in at a whopping 3.2 ozs.
insert-coin  arcade  keychain  keys  toys  nifty 
june 2019
Yes, you can feed bread to swans
“There has been a great deal of press coverage in recent months regarding the ‘Ban the Bread’ campaign which is confusing many members of the public who like to feed swans. Supporters of the campaign claim that bread should not be fed to swans on the grounds that it is bad for them. This is not correct. [....]

There is no good reason not to feed bread to swans, provided it is not mouldy. Most households have surplus bread and children have always enjoyed feeding swans with their parents. The ‘Ban the Bread’ campaign is already having a deleterious impact upon the swan population; I am receiving reports of underweight cygnets and adult birds, and a number of swans from large flocks have begun to wander into roads in search of food. This poses the further risk of swans being hit by vehicles. Malnutrition also increases their vulnerability to fatal diseases like avian-flu which has caused the deaths of many mute swans and other waterfowl in the past.”
swans  nature  feeding  wildlife  bread 
may 2019
Skerries protesters attempt to stop felling of mature trees
The War On Trees comes to Skerries, with people organising day-long rotas and chaining vehicles to trees to stop Fingal County Council from cutting them down
trees  skerries  dublin  fingal  greenery  wildlife 
may 2019
The war on trees: insurance involvement denied by Cork County Council
Cork people have documented on social media examples of trees being removed from public spaces and have been critical of the practice.

Last week, The Phoenix magazine claimed the insurance industry “has been identified as the dark force behind the slaughtering of thousands of healthy trees across Ireland”.t
“It transpires insurance companies have offered lower premiums to county councils, if they remove any tree that poses even a remote threat to passing humans,” the magazine reported.

This was put to Cork City Council, which denied the claim. “I refer to your query and can confirm that no contact has been made with Cork City Council by insurance companies, in relation to trees,” the spokesperson said.
trees  greenery  wildlife  ireland  cork  insurance 
may 2019
What I Learned Trying To Secure Congressional Campaigns (Idle Words)
'on August 22, the DNC had a phishing scare, where they mistook a vulnerability assessment for an actual attack. The next day, DCCC Executive Director Dan Sena sent an email to all campaigns with the subject line "Reminder About Cybersecurity". That email included three attachments, including a file evocatively titled "2-20170712-Falcon.docx".'
politics  security  dnc  democrats  funny  yubikeys  gmail  google  auth  phishing  hacking  congress 
may 2019
Climate change: 'We've created a civilisation hell bent on destroying itself – I'm terrified', writes Earth scientist
'At some point in the future, the technosphere could even function without humans. We worry about robots taking over human’s jobs. Perhaps we should be more concerned with them taking over our role as apex consumers.'
technology  ecology  technosphere  extinction  er  fear  grim  future  automation  climate-crisis  climate-change 
may 2019
How Facebook and Fox News radicalize and create online nazis
interesting thread from Gwen Snyder on Twitter:

"Fun fact about researching Nazis on Facebook? Facebook sorts "like" pages according to when something was liked. So you can literally look and see their progression from liking Fox to liking Breitbart/@benshapiro to liking pages associated with nazis & the extreme right."
redpill  alt-right  fascism  nazis  facebook  breitbart  fox-news  trump  radicalization 
may 2019
PUBG players arrested in Gujarat
Absurd overreaction:
Their strategy was simple, said two police officers involved in the arrests in Ahmedabad who asked not to be named: They swooped down on all groups of boys they saw with their heads buried in smartphones held in landscape mode. More often than not, they struck gold. Some of them were let off with stern warnings. Others had charges slapped against them, were convicted in court, and fined. A 19-year-old college student from Rajkot spent a night in jail before being bailed out the next day. Singh, the police commissioner, compared the severity of the PUBG arrests to a traffic offense, but to those arrested, the consequences are personal. “I feel tainted by this incident,” one of the boys who was arrested told BuzzFeed News. “My parents were mad I got into trouble with the police when they found out. They’re okay now, but sometimes, my relatives and cousins will still tease me about it and I don’t like that.”
pubg  gaming  videogames  games  gujarat  india  hysteria 
may 2019
The Dark Forest Theory of the Internet
The internet of today is a battleground. The idealism of the ’90s web is gone. The web 2.0 utopia — where we all lived in rounded filter bubbles of happiness — ended with the 2016 Presidential election when we learned that the tools we thought were only life-giving could be weaponized too. The public and semi-public spaces we created to develop our identities, cultivate communities, and gain knowledge were overtaken by forces using them to gain power of various kinds (market, political, social, and so on). [...]

The dark forests grow because they provide psychological and reputational cover. They allow us to be ourselves because we know who else is there. Compared to the free market communication style of the mass channels — with their high risks, high rewards, and limited moderation — dark forest spaces are more Scandinavian in their values and the social and emotional security they provide. They cap the downsides of looking bad and the upsides of our best jokes by virtue of a contained audience.
culture  internet  dark-forests  future  web  privacy  abuse  community 
may 2019
The Fairy King’s advice on Trees. A poem from Early Ireland
This medieval Irish poem about trees is taken from a text known as Aidedh Ferghusa meic Léide (the Death of Fergus). In the poem, Iubhdán, the king of the fairies, advises the ruler of Ulster, Fergus mac Léide, on the special qualities of trees and which ones can be burned in the household fire.
fairies  trees  wood  history  fire  poems  poetry 
may 2019
A Twitter thread about where P99s came from
"If you're wondering what "P-four-nines" means, it's the latency at the 99.99th percentile, meaning only one in 10,000 requests has a worse latency. Why do we measure latency in percentiles? A thread about how how it came to be at Amazon..."

This is a great thread from Andrew Certain, who managed the Performance Engineering team at Amazon in 2001. Percentiles, particularly for latency and performance measurement, were one of the big ideas which hit me like a ton of bricks when I joined Amazon, as they had been adopted whole-heartedly across the company by that stage.
p99  percentiles  quantiles  history  performance  analysis  measurement  metrics  amazon  aws  pmet 
may 2019
Beating up on qsort
an entertaining dive down a low-level performance-optimization rabbit hole, diving into radix sort on an array of integers in particular
sorting  sort  performance  optimization  radix-sort  qsort  algorithms 
may 2019
British Far Right Extremism Manipulating Ireland
digging into the "Irexit" campaign and their extensive links to Nigel Farage and the British far right -- 100% astroturf
astroturf  ireland  irexit  nigel-farage  ukip  brexit  politics  dirty-tricks 
may 2019
Nixery provides the ability to pull ad-hoc container images from a Docker-compatible registry server. The image names specify the contents the image should contain, which are then retrieved and built by the Nix package manager. Nix is also responsible for the creation of the container images themselves.

e.g. "docker run -ti nixery.appspot.com/shell/htop bash"
docker  containers  nix  nixpkgs  packaging  deployment  ops 
may 2019
In a Constantly Changing San Francisco, Change is Constant – Hmm Daily
“Quote from Rebecca Solnit,” with explanation of Rebecca Solnit for readers not familiar with Rebecca Solnit. “Further quotation from Rebecca Solnit to round out paragraph and lead reader to more satisfying conclusion. Also, to broadcast ability to speak with Rebecca Solnit.”
cities  humor  journalism  media  frisco  sf  san-francisco  bay-area  funny  rebecca-solnit 
may 2019
The secret life of DNS packets: investigating complex networks
ah, the joys of building production systems atop AWS and its poorly-documented limits:
One more surprising detail we discovered in the tcpdump data was that the VPC resolver was not sending back responses to many of the queries. During one of the 60-second collection periods the DNS server sent 257,430 packets to the VPC resolver. The VPC resolver replied back with only 61,385 packets, which averages to 1,023 packets per second. We realized we may be hitting the AWS limit for how much traffic can be sent to a VPC resolver, which is 1,024 packets per second per interface.
aws  limits  ops  stripe  vpc  dns  outages  postmortems  debugging 
may 2019
'a new national platform for accessing authoritative geospatial information which provides free, web-based access to authoritative Irish spatial data from multiple providers, including Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) and many more.'
ireland  mapping  maps  geo  ordnance-survey  osi  geodata 
may 2019
5G is the new antivax/chemtrails conspiracy theory
And Russia is pushing it. Expect to see a lot of this about soon
5g  conspiracies  loons  crazy  russia  propaganda  disinformation  wireless  youtube 
may 2019
Facebook and Google pressured EU experts to soften fake news regulations, say insiders | openDemocracy
The EU’s expert group met last year as a response to the wildfire spread of fake news and disinformation seen in the Brexit referendum and in the US election of President Donald Trump. Their task was to help prevent the spread of disinformation, particularly at pivotal moments such as this week’s hotly contested European parliamentary elections.

However some of these experts say that representatives of Facebook and Google undermined the work of the group, which was convened by the European Commission and comprised leading European researchers, media entrepreneurs and activists.

In particular, the platforms opposed proposals that would have forced them to be more transparent about their business models. And a number of insiders have raised concerns about how the tech platforms’ funding relationships with experts on the panel may have helped to water down the recommendations.

In the wake of numerous reports of massive disinformation campaigns targeting the European elections, many linked to Russia and to far-right groups, EU politicians and transparency campaigners have called these fresh allegations about the tech platforms’ behaviour a “scandal”.
google  facebook  disinformation  russia  eu  democracy  lobbying 
may 2019
_Efficiently y Searching In-Memory Sorted Arrays: Revenge of the Interpolation Search?_, Peter Van Sandt, Yannis Chronis, Jignesh M. Patel [pdf]
'In this paper, we focus on the problem of searching sorted, in-memory datasets. This is a key data operation, and Binary Search is the de facto algorithm that is used in practice. We consider an alternative, namely Interpolation Search, which can take advantage of hardware trends by using complex calculations to save memory accesses. Historically, Interpolation Search was found to underperform compared to other search algorithms in this setting, despite its superior asymptotic complexity. Also,Interpolation Search is known to perform poorly on non-uniform data. To address these issues, we introduce SIP (Slope reuse Interpolation), an optimized implementation
of Interpolation Search, and TIP (Three point Interpolation), a new search algorithm that uses linear fractions to interpolate on non-uniform distributions. We evaluate these two algorithms against a similarly optimized Binary Search method using a variety of real and synthetic datasets. We show that SIP is up to 4 times faster on uniformly distributed data and TIP is 2-3 times faster on non-uniformly distributed data in some cases. We also design a meta-algorithm to switch between these different methods to automate picking the higher performing search algorithm, which depends on factors like data distribution.'
papers  pdf  algorithms  search  interpolation  binary-search  sorted-data  coding  optimization  performance 
may 2019
The one man behind all those slick, glossy, anti-abortion posters
If you were wondering where all those huge, glossy high-quality posters of foetuses came from during the abortion referendum campaign in Ireland last year:

'Graphic pictures of aborted fetuses, prayer vigils and protesters. It’s no coincidence that the anti-abortion movement looks the same from London to Dublin to Warsaw.
It's mostly Gregg Cunningham. The California-based activist has been farming out his imagery and strategies to like-minded groups in Europe for more than five years.'

'if you see an abortion protester with one of those big, disturbing, graphic images, that says “CHOICE?” Or “ABORTION IS MURDER”, that’s Gregg Cunningham’s work, and that’s not a protest, that’s advertising.'

It's a business. He sells this worldwide. He's also a climate change denier, naturally.
There's even a 'Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform', mirroring the Irish operation.

So now you know why right-wingers accuse lefties of being 'paid protesters' -- it's because that's what _they_ do.

Of course, this tactic backfired dramatically in Ireland -- we don't like being told what to think by paternalistic, patronising, colonialist foreign influences these days....
gregg-cunningham  abortion  us-politics  posters  icbr  ccbr 
may 2019
nearly every site running ads has an /ads.txt
Pinboard on Twitter:
'I just learned that nearly every site running ads has a standardized ads.txt file that helpfully shows you how badly it murders your privacy. The file is a whitelist of all authorized resellers for programmatic advertising. For example, ªªhttps://www.bostonglobe.com/ads.txt ºº'
ads.txt  advertising  pinboard  privacy  data-privacy  adtech  robots 
may 2019
Federated Learning
Google demonstrates their (extremely cool) privacy-preserving machine learning train/test architecture with a comic
google  comics  ai  ml  federated-learning  privacy  data-protection  encryption  training 
may 2019
A deep dive into the problems with the infamous Dublin Bus Real Time app | JOE is the voice of Irish people at home and abroad
Oh dear -- not a happy camper....
This is not a bug in the system, but a feature of the system. The app is not automated to the degree that a cancelled bus service can be flagged on the spot. It has to pass through at least two human decision-making processes before it's removed from the app. In the most simple terms, the system works in such a way that inaccurate information is an inevitable by-product.

Similarly, the app struggles to account for buses that are held up in traffic: "When a bus is held in traffic, the predicted arrival time on the RTPI unit will reflect this as it is determined by the bus’ distance between its location and the bus stop and it is not possible to determine the duration of the period of congestion."

So while your bus could be 10 minutes away, on a busy main road full of traffic, the app could tell you that it is two or three minutes away, based purely on its distance.
buses  public-transport  dublin  rtpi  dublin-bus  rants  apps  mobile 
may 2019
Opinion | The Uber I.P.O. Is a Moral Stain on Silicon Valley - The New York Times
Uber — and to a lesser extent, its competitor Lyft — has indeed turned out to be a poster child for Silicon Valley’s messianic vision, but not in a way that should make anyone in this industry proud. Uber’s is likely to be the biggest tech I.P.O. since Facebook’s. It will turn a handful of people into millionaires and billionaires. But the gains for everyone else — for drivers, for the environment, for the world — remain in doubt. There’s a lesson here: If Uber is really the best that Silicon Valley can do, America desperately needs to find a better way to fund groundbreaking new ideas.
startups  uber  silicon-valley  morality  ethics  future  work  tech 
may 2019
The Gold Standard
Reducing your climate change impact by funding offsetting projects worldwide; usable by individuals
climate-change  climate  offsetting  donation  crowdfunding  offset 
may 2019
The many human errors that brought down the Boeing 737 Max - The Verge
Had anyone [at the FAA] checked, they might have flagged MCAS for one of several reasons, including its lack of redundancy, its unacceptably high risk of failure, or its significant increase in power to the point that it was no longer just a “hazardous failure” kind of system.

When asked for comment, the agency said, “The FAA’s aircraft certification processes are well established and have consistently produced safe aircraft designs.”

Boeing defended the process as well. “The system of authorized representatives — delegated authority — is a robust and effective way for the FAA to execute its oversight of safety,” a spokesperson told The Verge.

But that system only works when someone actually reads the paperwork.
mcas  boeing  737max  fail  safety  faa  flying  regulation 
may 2019
Oh dear. Huawei enterprise router 'backdoor' was Telnet, sighs Vodafone
Characterising Telnet as a backdoor is a bit like describing your catflap as an access portal with no physical security features that allows multiple species to pass unhindered through a critical home security layer. In other words, massively over-egging the pudding.
huawei  vodafone  funny  security  bloomberg  overexcited  drama  us-politics  china 
april 2019
Young Life Out Of Balance: The Impact and Legacy of ‘Koyaanisqatsi’
I found myself thinking about how 10-year-old Mike responded to these overwhelming images. The process of meaning-making for a 10-year-old kid watching a film containing a sophisticated symbolic critique of modern life fascinated me. I decided to watch Koyaanisqatsi in 2019 with a close eye towards the images and sounds that had stuck with me subconsciously in the intervening third of a century, the sequences that offered today’s me a direct connection to my younger self. In childhood I was surrounded by films, cartoons, and other educational programming that transmitted the profundity and complexity of human existence and the universe directly into my growing brain. What did Koyaanisqatsi‘s sensory bombardment, its sometimes overwhelming contrasting of nature and technology mean to me then? And how did that meaning change for me as an adult, now fully conscious of and conversant with the issues Reggio raises?
koyaanisqatsi  godfrey-reggio  film  art  1980s 
april 2019
Tim Robinson's townland index for Connemara and the Aran Islands | NUI Galway Digital Collections
Legendary west-of-Ireland mapmaker Tim Robinson has an archive at NUIG -- including the maps themselves.
An extensive card catalogue compiled by Tim Robinson throughout the 1980s and 1990s, drawn from his field notes. The series has been arranged by Robinson into civil parishes, and further divided into townlands. For most of the townlands, there are several record cards that give a detailed description of the local landscape. These describe historical, ecclesiastical, geological, and archaeological features. Anecdotes and local lore also feature in these. Robinson adds the names of people who helped him compile his information, usually local people, and often correspondents who sent him information helping him identify the origins of placenames, or certain landmarks and artefacts.
The cards also credit several secondary sources, including the OS maps and corresponding Field Name Books, Hardiman's History of Galway, Alexander Nimmo's map of the bogs in the West of Ireland, and many more.
In all cases in this series, the placename Tim Robinson used as his title appears as the title here. Many are in Irish, and some are in English. The corresponding translation is provided in the description.
tim-robinson  ireland  history  connemara  via:voxhib  galway  maps  mapping  culture  nuig 
april 2019
Youth Spies and Curious Elders - Austin Kleon
featuring Eno, John Waters and Stafford Beer:
The revolutions of the future will appear in forms we don’t even recognise—in a language we can’t read. We will be looking out for twists on the old themes but not noticing that there are whole new conversations taking place. Just imagine if all the things about which we now get so heated meant nothing to those who follow us—as mysteriously irrelevant as the nuanced distinctions between anarcho-syndicalism and communist anarchism. At least we can hope for that. As the cybernetician Stafford Beer once said to me: “If we can understand our children, we’re all screwed.” So revel in your mystification and read it as a sign of a healthy future. Whatever happens next, it won’t be what you expected. If it is what you expected, it isn’t what’s happening next.
kids  learning  fashion  youth  brian-eno  john-waters  stafford-beer  children  future  music 
april 2019
'Looping' Created an Underground Insulin-Pump Market - The Atlantic
By 2014, the hardware components of a DIY artificial pancreas—a small insulin pump that attaches via thin disposable tubing to the body and a continuous sensor for glucose, or sugar, that slips just under the skin—were available, but it was impossible to connect the two. That’s where the security flaw came in. The hackers realized they could use it to override old Medtronic pumps with their own algorithm that automatically calculates insulin doses based on real-time glucose data. It closed the feedback loop.

They shared this code online as OpenAPS, and “looping,” as it’s called, began to catch on. Instead of micromanaging their blood sugar, people with diabetes could offload that work to an algorithm. In addition to OpenAPS, another system called Loop is now available. Dozens, then hundreds, and now thousands of people are experimenting with DIY artificial-pancreas systems—none of which the Food and Drug Administration has officially approved. And they’ve had to track down discontinued Medtronic pumps. It can sometimes take months to find one.

Obviously, you can’t just call up Medtronic to order a discontinued pump with a security flaw. “It’s eBay, Craigslist, Facebook. It’s like this underground market for these pumps,”
looping  insulin  diabetes  health  hardware  open-hardware  medtronic  glucose  medicine  fda  black-market 
april 2019
Brian Moriarty - "I Sing the Story Electric"
The history of interactive storytelling, including a classification system for branching narrative techniques: The Foldback, Quicktime Events, Sardonic Options, Achtung Options, Checkpoint Saves, and Bait-and-Switch Options, and an example of a computerized interactive narrative from 1955, GENIAC Project 23.
geniac  kinoautomat  borges  narratives  non-linear  branching  interactive-fiction  games  gaming  ludology  history  stories  storytelling  talks 
april 2019
Packets-per-second limits in EC2
By running these experiments, we determined that each EC2 instance type has a packet-per-second budget. Surprisingly, this budget goes toward the total of incoming and outgoing packets. Even more surprisingly, the same budget gets split between multiple network interfaces, with some additional performance penalty. This last result informs against using multiple network interfaces when tuning the system for higher networking performance.

The maximum budget for m5.metal and m5.24xlarge is 2.2M packets per second. Given that each HTTP transaction takes at least four packets, we can translate this to a maximum of 550k requests per second on the largest m5 instance with Enhanced Networking enabled.
aws  ec2  networking  pps  packets  tcp  ip  benchmarking 
april 2019
What's next after the Extinction Rebellion demos?
You would think anyone who accepts the science on climate change and understands the civilisation-threatening scale of the risks spelled out in the most recent IPCC report would look at people willing to get arrested in their desperation to drive bolder action against those risks and recognise the least they deserve is an honest and engaged response, perhaps even characterised by a touch of humility and a guilty acceptance decarbonisation efforts to date are yet to make so much as the slightest dent in global emissions trajectories. But apparently not. Glib Tweets about China are obviously easier.

The response to the critical 'what's the plan' question seems to be 'more of the same, with a touch more ambition perhaps, but let's not scare the horses; look, we're doing our best here, we've got the message, no we haven't got any better ideas, can you please put the superglue down and let us get back to business-as-usual'. It is disappointing, a dereliction of duty, and in no way commensurate to the scale of the climate crisis, to put it mildly.
future  climate-change  climate-breakdown  xr  extinction-rebellion  uk-politics  green  politics 
april 2019
Excellent twitter thread on the "threat" of a "flood" of refugees post-climate-disaster
Once the middle latitudes become effectively uninhabitable, there will be increased migration towards the poles. This thread is an excellent discussion of this issue from a left-wing, pro-migrant standpoint, and how to avoid falling into a racist trap of talking about a "flood of refugees swamping Ireland/UK".
racism  fascism  climate-change  extinction  earth  climate-breakdown  migration  refugees  walls  borders  future 
april 2019
TIL There's a Wikipedia editor called BritishFinance who is dedicated to writing negative articles about Ireland
ffs. Wikipedia abuse problems strike again:

This comment over on /r/dataisbeautiful and this one both by /u/shy-talk is where I first heard of him.


He seems to have started last year and of course peppers in plenty of non-controversial contributions too but he's definitely determined to paint Ireland as negatively as possible with regards to our financial and tax regulations.

Some articles he's created:

There's actually so many articles where he goes out of his way to make Ireland look bad there's no point trying to list them
ireland  politics  taxation  britishfinance  abuse  wikipedia  finance  propaganda  uk-politics 
april 2019
Newline-delimited JSON, ie. a stream of one-line JSON records. Good to know there's a name for it; aka JSONLines (http://jsonlines.org/). Unfortunately no RFC though
json  streaming  unix  pipes  newlines  formats  interchange  data  standards 
april 2019
an extremely detailed example of structured logging in Java using Logback
logging  structured-logging  json  ndjson  logback  logs 
april 2019
Ireland Blocks The World on Data Privacy
Last May, Europe imposed new data privacy guidelines that carry the hopes of hundreds of millions of people around the world — including in the United States — to rein in abuses by big tech companies.

Almost a year later, it’s apparent that the new rules have a significant loophole: The designated lead regulator — the tiny nation of Ireland — has yet to bring an enforcement action against a big tech firm.
That’s not entirely surprising. Despite its vows to beef up its threadbare regulatory apparatus, Ireland has a long history of catering to the very companies it is supposed to oversee, having wooed top Silicon Valley firms to the Emerald Isle with promises of low taxes, open access to top officials, and help securing funds to build glittering new headquarters.

Now, data privacy experts and regulators in other countries are questioning Ireland’s commitment to policing imminent privacy concerns like Facebook’s reintroduction of facial recognition software and data-sharing with its recently purchased subsidiary WhatsApp, and Google’s sharing of information across its burgeoning number of platforms.
ireland  fail  gdpr  privacy  data-protection  data  facebook  eu  regulation 
april 2019
When License-Plate Surveillance Goes Horribly Wrong - The New York Times
“They built a system to mitigate harm, and yet I ended up with guns pulled on me due to faulty data,” he said. “And it’s more proof that we’ve built this invisible layer behind the scenes that leads to real-world consequences.”

This is the common thread between automated surveillance systems -- false positives happen, but the systems are designed to assume this is harmless.
false-positives  surveillance  anpr  license-plates  automation 
april 2019
Who’s using your face? The ugly truth about facial recognition
In order to feed this hungry system, a plethora of face repositories — such as IJB-C — have sprung up, containing images manually culled and bound together from sources as varied as university campuses, town squares, markets, cafés, mugshots and social-media sites such as Flickr, Instagram and YouTube.

To understand what these faces have been helping to build, the FT worked with Adam Harvey, the researcher who first spotted Jillian York’s face in IJB-C. An American based in Berlin, he has spent years amassing more than 300 face datasets and has identified some 5,000 academic papers that cite them.

The images, we found, are used to train and benchmark algorithms that serve a variety of biometric-related purposes — recognising faces at passport control, crowd surveillance, automated driving, robotics, even emotion analysis for advertising. They have been cited in papers by commercial companies including Facebook, Microsoft, Baidu, SenseTime and IBM, as well as by academics around the world, from Japan to the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

“We’ve seen facial recognition shifting in purpose,” says Dave Maass, a senior investigative researcher at the EFF, who was shocked to discover that his own colleagues’ faces were in the Iarpa database. “It was originally being used for identification purposes . . . Now somebody’s face is used as a tracking number to watch them as they move across locations on video, which is a huge shift. [Researchers] don’t have to pay people for consent, they don’t have to find models, no firm has to pay to collect it, everyone gets it for free.”
data  privacy  face-recognition  cameras  creative-commons  licensing  flickr  open-data  google  facebook  surveillance  instagram  ijb-c  research  iarpa 
april 2019
Tinder’s move to Kubernetes – Tinder Engineering – Medium
A solid technical writeup of Tinder's k8s migration. Some problems with Flannel, DNS and (worryingly) ELB, but good +1s for Envoy as a sidecar
kubernetes  k8s  flannel  networking  elb  aws  envoy  ec2  ops  tinder 
april 2019
The Irish for spam
'turscar: from the old word for dead seaweed that's been dropped, uninvited, by the tide on the shore.'
turscar  irish  gaeilge  spam  etymology  seaweed  stinky 
april 2019
James Bridle / New Ways of Seeing
This will be a must-listen, starting this week on BBC Radio 4 and for download:

'New Ways of Seeing considers the impact of digital technologies on the way we see, understand, and interact with the world. Building on John Berger's seminal Ways of Seeing from 1972, the show explores network infrastructures, digital images, systemic bias, education and the environment, in conversation with a number of contemporary art practitioners.'
seeing  vision  machine-learning  james-bridle  internet  digital  future  art 
april 2019
Interesting thread on how trees should be managed by city councils, vs "topping"
'Dr Eoin Lettice on Twitter: "At the risk of repeating myself, a serious discussion needs to be had about how @corkcitycouncil and its agents are managing our mature trees in the public realm. This horror show from Ballyphehane today. Topping trees is bad practice for a whole bunch of reasons. [Thread]'
topping  trees  ireland  maintainance  dcc 
april 2019
Autonomous Precision Landing of Space Rockets - Lars Blackmore
from 'Frontiers of Engineering: Reports on Leading-Edge Engineering' from the 2016 Symposium, published by the National Academies Press, regarding the algorithms used by SpaceX for their autonomous landings:
The computation must be done autonomously, in a fraction of a second. Failure to find a feasible solution in time will crash the spacecraft into the ground. Failure to find the optimal solution may use up the available propellant, with the same result. Finally, a hardware failure may require replanning the trajectory multiple times.

Page 39
Suggested Citation:"Autonomous Precision Landing of Space Rockets - Lars Blackmore." National Academy of Engineering. 2017. Frontiers of Engineering: Reports on Leading-Edge Engineering from the 2016 Symposium. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/23659. ×

A general solution to such problems has existed in one dimension since the 1960s (Meditch 1964), but not in three dimensions. Over the past decade, research has shown how to use modern mathematical optimization techniques to solve this problem for a Mars landing, with guarantees that the best solution can be found in time (Açikmeşe and Ploen 2007; Blackmore et al. 2010).

Because Earth’s atmosphere is 100 times as dense as that of Mars, aerodynamic forces become the primary concern rather than a disturbance so small that it can be neglected in the trajectory planning phase. As a result, Earth landing is a very different problem, but SpaceX and Blue Origin have shown that this too can be solved. SpaceX uses CVXGEN (Mattingley and Boyd 2012) to generate customized flight code, which enables very high-speed onboard convex optimization.
spacex  blue-origin  convex-optimization  space  landing  autonomous-vehicles  flight  algorithms 
april 2019
_First M87 Event Horizon Telescope Results. III. Data Processing and Calibration_
'We present the calibration and reduction of Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) 1.3 mm radio wavelength observations of the supermassive black hole candidate at the center of the radio galaxy M87 and the quasar 3C 279, taken during the 2017 April 5–11 observing campaign. These global very long baseline interferometric observations include for the first time the highly sensitive Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA); reaching an angular resolution of 25 μas, with characteristic sensitivity limits of ∼1 mJy on baselines to ALMA and ∼10 mJy on other baselines. The observations present challenges for existing data processing tools, arising from the rapid atmospheric phase fluctuations, wide recording bandwidth, and highly heterogeneous array. In response, we developed three independent pipelines for phase calibration and fringe detection, each tailored to the specific needs of the EHT. The final data products include calibrated total intensity amplitude and phase information. They are validated through a series of quality assurance tests that show consistency across pipelines and set limits on baseline systematic errors of 2% in amplitude and 1° in phase. The M87 data reveal the presence of two nulls in correlated flux density at ∼3.4 and ∼8.3 Gλ and temporal evolution in closure quantities, indicating intrinsic variability of compact structure on a timescale of days, or several light-crossing times for a few billion solar-mass black hole. These measurements provide the first opportunity to image horizon-scale structure in M87.'
papers  data  big-data  telescopes  eht  black-holes  astronomy 
april 2019
Europol Tells Internet Archive That Much Of Its Site Is 'Terrorist Content' | Techdirt
'The Internet Archive has a few staff members that process takedown notices from law enforcement who operate in the Pacific time zone. Most of the falsely identified URLs mentioned here (including the report from the French government) were sent to us in the middle of the night – between midnight and 3am Pacific – and all of the reports were sent outside of the business hours of the Internet Archive.

The one-hour requirement essentially means that we would need to take reported URLs down automatically and do our best to review them after the fact.

It would be bad enough if the mistaken URLs in these examples were for a set of relatively obscure items on our site, but the EU IRU’s lists include some of the most visited pages on archive.org and materials that obviously have high scholarly and research value.'
eu  europol  policing  france  archive.org  archival  web  freedom  censorship  fail 
april 2019
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