Serving 100µs reads with 100% availability · Segment Blog
Distributing read-only snapshotted SQLite databases to shared volumes works! nifty hack
architecture  databases  performance  sqlite  segment  ops  docker 
12 weeks ago
How to monitor Golden signals in Kubernetes
Most of this doc is Kubernetes specific, but this "golden signals" idea is interesting; basically, the four metrics of requests per second, average request latency, CPU usage on service fleet, errors per second. I would modify by adding the P99 or P99.9 request latency, and representing errors per second as a proportion of that period's request-per-second figure.
kubernetes  monitoring  sysdig  golden-data  k8s  golden-signals  metrics  latency  errors 
12 weeks ago
Disinformation For Hire: How A New Breed Of PR Firms Is Selling Lies Online
If disinformation in 2016 was characterized by Macedonian spammers pushing pro-Trump fake news and Russian trolls running rampant on platforms, 2020 is shaping up to be the year communications pros for hire provide sophisticated online propaganda operations to anyone willing to pay. Around the globe, politicians, parties, governments, and other clients hire what is known in the industry as “black PR” firms to spread lies and manipulate online discourse.

A BuzzFeed News review — which looked at account takedowns by platforms that deactivated and investigations by security and research firms — found that since 2011, at least 27 online information operations have been partially or wholly attributed to PR or marketing firms. Of those, 19 occurred in 2019 alone.
disinformation  china  propaganda  pr  disinfo  social-media  marketing 
12 weeks ago
"One of our office chairs turns off monitors"
Crappy unshielded display cables are prone to electrostatic discharges from gas-lift office chairs...

"we have also seen this issue connected to gas lift office chairs. When people stand or sit on gas lift chairs, they can generate an EMI spike which is picked up on the video cables, causing a loss of sync. If you have users complaining about displays randomly flickering it could actually be connected to people sitting on gas lift chairs. Again swapping video cables, especially for ones with magnetic ferrite ring on the cable, can eliminate this problem."
chairs  furniture  funny  hardware  emi  esd  monitors  twitter  video 
12 weeks ago
How "special register groups" invaded computer dictionaries for decades
For some reason, a 1960 definition of [a computer's] "central processing unit" included "special register groups", an obscure feature from the Honeywell 800 mainframe. This definition was copied and changed for decades, even though it doesn't make sense. It appears that once something appears in an authoritative glossary, people will reuse it for decades, and obsolete terms may never die out.

Additionally, the "main frame" was a Honeywell term for the large physical frame which held the CPU. History!
computer  computing  language  history  etymology  mainframe  honeywell  cpu  dictionaries 
12 weeks ago
Facial recognition for the public: Yandex
not such much via, as from, Nelson:
You can use Yandex Image Search right now as a pretty good facial recognition system for anyone who has labelled photos on the Web. I believe this is the first generally accessible facial recognition system with a large database. Yandex isn’t designed for this purpose. The trick is to upload photos cropped to a face and it’ll work more or less to find similar faces.

this is really odd. Definitely seems like they designed the image similarity engine to support faces as a special case.
privacy  face-recognition  yandex  search  similarity  images  web 
12 weeks ago
Buckle Up Twitter
Listen up bitches, it’s time to learn incorrect things about someone you’ve never heard of:
I am thinking of the response to February’s “Beau Brummell invented toxic masculinity” episode, in which the 19th-century English fancy man Beau Brummell, as infamous a dandy as one can be, was “taken down” in a grueling thread which neatly encapsulated all the worst qualities of Buckle Up Twitter: bewilderingly irate, laden with a combination of baroque linguistic flourishes and performatively subversive swearing, assumption of complete ignorance on the part of the audience, fondness for the word “gaslighting,” a powerful youth pastor-like eagerness to “meet people where they are,” high likelihood that it will be retweeted by people who refer to themselves as “Scolds” in their twitter bios, strong urge to lay the blame for the ills of the 21st century firmly at the foot of a basically random actor or event, total erasure of most things that have ever happened.
twitter  threads  bores  social-media  funny 
12 weeks ago
IAmA: Reddit's Own Vacuum Repair Tech
some top tips on what to look for in a vacuum cleaner. Bottom line: bagless and stick vacuums are not the best
reddit  vacuum-cleaners  shopping  tips  ama  hoovers 
12 weeks ago
Modin: Speed up your Pandas workflows by changing a single line of code
The modin.pandas DataFrame is an extremely light-weight parallel DataFrame. Modin transparently distributes the data and computation so that all you need to do is continue using the pandas API as you were before installing Modin. Unlike other parallel DataFrame systems, Modin is an extremely light-weight, robust DataFrame. Because it is so light-weight, Modin provides speed-ups of up to 4x on a laptop with 4 physical cores.

We have focused heavily on bridging the solutions between DataFrames for small data (e.g. pandas) and large data. Often data scientists require different tools for doing the same thing on different sizes of data. The DataFrame solutions that exist for 1KB do not scale to 1TB+, and the overheads of the solutions for 1TB+ are too costly for datasets in the 1KB range. With Modin, because of its light-weight, robust, and scalable nature, you get a fast DataFrame at small and large data. With preliminary cluster and out of core support, Modin is a DataFrame library with great single-node performance and high scalability in a cluster.
data  parallel  python  pandas  dataframes  modin  data-science 
12 weeks ago
SHA-1 is a Shambles - First Chosen-Prefix Collision on SHA-1 and Application to the PGP Web of Trust

Abstract: The SHA-1 hash function was designed in 1995 and has been widely used during two decades. A theoretical collision attack was first proposed in 2004 [WYY05], but due to its high complexity it was only implemented in practice in 2017, using a large GPU cluster [SBK+17]. More recently, an almost practical chosen-prefix collision attack against SHA-1 has been proposed [LP19]. This more powerful attack allows to build colliding messages with two arbitrary prefixes, which is much more threatening for real protocols.

In this paper, we report the first practical implementation of this attack, and its impact on real-world security with a PGP/GnuPG impersonation attack. We managed to significantly reduce the complexity of collisions attack against SHA-1: on an Nvidia GTX 970, identical-prefix collisions can now be computed with a complexity of 261.2261.2 rather than 264.7264.7, and chosen-prefix collisions with a complexity of 263.4263.4 rather than 267.1267.1. When renting cheap GPUs, this translates to a cost of 11k US\$ for a collision, and 45k US\$ for a chosen-prefix collision, within the means of academic researchers. Our actual attack required two months of computations using 900 Nvidia GTX 1060 GPUs (we paid 75k US\$ because GPU prices were higher, and we wasted some time preparing the attack).

Therefore, the same attacks that have been practical on MD5 since 2009 are now practical on SHA-1. In particular, chosen-prefix collisions can break signature schemes and handshake security in secure channel protocols (TLS, SSH). We strongly advise to remove SHA-1 from those type of applications as soon as possible. We exemplify our cryptanalysis by creating a pair of PGP/GnuPG keys with different identities, but colliding SHA-1 certificates. A SHA-1 certification of the first key can therefore be transferred to the second key, leading to a forgery. This proves that SHA-1 signatures now offers virtually no security in practice. The legacy branch of GnuPG still uses SHA-1 by default for identity certifications, but after notifying the authors, the modern branch now rejects SHA-1 signatures (the issue is tracked as CVE-2019-14855).

(Via Tony Finch)
via:fanf  security  sha  sha-1  crypto  hashes  hashing  pgp  gpg  collisions 
january 2020
massive Travelex outage
The holiday money exchange site has been offline for the past 7 days, reportedly due to a ransomware infection, with 5GB of PII data exfiltrated
travelex  fail  security  exploits  ransomware  malware  outages 
january 2020
City maps from tourists' feelings
This is fascinating, and potentially quite useful -- although the great loft I stayed in in Antwerp is marked in a decidedly yellowish region :) (via Nelson)
The aim of this project is to map tourists’ perceptions of different urban areas through data retrieved from vacation rental platform Airbnb. After their stay, Airbnb guests score their feeling about the neighbourhood using a star-based rating system. The aggregated rating of each Airbnb listing is publicly accessible, and given the widespread expansion of this platform, a large amount of data is available for the most visited cities. When overlaid on a map of the city, the data reveals interesting geographic patterns and exposes subjective perceptions on safety, upkeep or convenience. -- Beñat Arregi
airbnb  dataviz  maps  mapping  via:nelson  data  tourism  europe  vacations  holidays 
january 2020
Power Line Adapter noise interference
oh dear, I use this model....
About 3 weeks ago our neighbour installed power line adapters. The PLAs in question were branded TP-Link [....]
How did I know that my neighbour had installed these? Well, the 50MHz band was immediately submerged under a wall of radio noise. Much tinkering with the Noise Blanker settings on the Icom IC-7300 allowed me to separate out two distinct types of noise - 1st a sound like a chicken clucking which was there 24 hours per day and - 2nd a wideband swoosh of white noise of varying strength which happened at certain times.
noise  rf  wifi  powerline  networking  home  hardware  radio 
january 2020
Testing in Production: How we combined tests with monitoring
The Guardian Digital team's write-up on their "test in prod" setup -- post-release monitoring through running integration test suites. We do the same in Swrve, calling our suites the "canary tests", and it works really well for us.
testing  monitoring  ops  devops  the-guardian  prod  production  releases 
january 2020
Algorithms interviews: theory vs. practice
Good critique of the current practice of using algorithm questions during tech interviews from Dan Luu
At this point, we've gone through a few decades of programming interview fads, each one of which looks ridiculous in retrospect. Either we've finally found the real secret to interviewing effectively and have reasoned our way past whatever roadblocks were causing everybody in the past to use obviously bogus fad interview techniques, or we're in the middle of another fad, one which will seem equally ridiculous to people looking back a decade or two from now.

Without knowing anything about the effectiveness of interviews, at a meta level, since the way people get interview techniques is the same (crib the high-level technique from the most prestigious company around), I think it would be pretty surprising if this wasn't a fad. I would be less surprised to discover that current techniques were not a fad if people were doing or referring to empirical research or had independently discovered what works.
interviews  interviewing  hiring  tech  software  jobs  fads  algorithms  dan-luu 
january 2020
New Left Review - Mike Davis: Who Will Build the Ark?
Mike Davis' 2010 essay predicting a failure of climate change mitigation - then rebutting himself in the second half
mike-davis  climate-change  climate  politics 
january 2020
What's New! September 1993
I'm glad to see that the resurrected home.mcom.com, rebuilt by jwz in 2008, still contains these two pieces of internet history I set up back in 1993:
September 3, 1993

IONA Technologies (whose product, Orbix, is the first full and complete implementation of the Object Management Group's Common Object Request Broker Architecture, or CORBA) is now running a Web server.

An online pamphlet on the Church of the SubGenius is now available.
history  iona  subgenius  slack  orbix  ireland 
december 2019
Children’s fantasy literature of the Oxford School must be read critically
C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, et al. Philip Pullman is particularly scathing about Lewis....
At the moment that the British Empire is waning, you see this rise of children’s fantasy literature, which is set in these kinds of precolonial worlds, but also imagining these new vistas for exploration and the pleasures of exploration and colonization, encounters with indigenous peoples—but cloaked in a different story, where the people you’re encountering are “magical creatures,” so you’re free of political resonances in an age of decolonization.

It’s really interesting, in light of what we were talking about—the pleasures of fantasy. Because the books are supposedly for children, this scrubs them clean of the complexities of “adult” concerns and gives them some kind of innocence, and it becomes a kind of free place of play. But that’s also re-inscribing these colonialist actions and privileges. Part of the pleasures of Hogwarts, of Oxford, of Harvard, have to do with profound privilege, layers of servants and workers and people who can’t get in that are making your experience so very special.

I think that’s a lot of what the export is, in many ways. It’s capturing and repackaging the elitism of the British Empire—creating other landscapes to enjoy it in that don’t have the same vexed associations.
sf  fantasy  via:nwbrux  c-s-lewis  tolkien  literature  history  empire  oxford  uk 
december 2019
J.K. Rowling’s transphobia is a product of British culture
Good explainer on why the UK is so TERFy these days:
Trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) ideology has been helped along in the UK by media under the leadership of Rupert Murdoch and the Times of London for years. Any vague opposition to gender-critical thought in the UK brings accusations of “silencing women” and a splashy feature or op-ed in a British national newspaper. Australian radical feminist Sheila Jeffreys went before the UK Parliament in March 2018 and declared that trans women are “parasites,” language that sounds an awful lot like Donald Trump speaking about immigrants.

According to Heron Greenesmith, who studies the modern gender-critical movement as a senior research associate at the social-justice think tank Political Research Associates, gender-critical feminism in the UK grew out of a toxic mix of historical imperialism and the influence of the broader skeptical movement in the early aughts — which was hyperfocused on debunking “junk science” and any idea that considered sociological and historical influence and not just biology. Those who rose to prominence in the movement did so through a lot of “non-tolerant calling-out and attacking people,” Greenesmith said, much like gender-critical feminism. “Anti-trans feminists think they have science on their side. It is bananas how ascientific their rhetoric is, and yet literally they say, ‘Biology isn’t bigotry.’ In fact, biology has been used as bigotry as long as biology has been a thing.”
feminism  politics  terfs  trans-rights  gender  biology  uk  jk-rowling  transphobia 
december 2019
Room to Breathe: My Quest to Clean Up My Home's Filthy Air
The air quality in your home is probably terrible, if this is anything to go by :O
air  air-quality  particulates  pm2.5  pm10  health  paranoia  homes 
december 2019
Xor Filters: Faster and Smaller Than Bloom Filters
A new immutable probabilistic set data structure, derived from Bloomier Filters, by Daniel Lemire and Thomas Mueller Graf. Lots of sample implementations, looks very useful!
algorithms  coding  performance  bloom-filters  xor-filters  data-structures 
december 2019
Alice Goldfuss clarifies JK Rowling's "dress however you please" anti-trans comments
This was a really educational thread for me -- demonstrating how these phrases are a symptom, not support
JK Rowling hates trans people, but I want to talk a little bit about the *way* she hates them so you can recognize it in the wild.

She says “Dress however you please” and “Call yourself whatever you like”

At first glance it sounds supportive, but it isn’t

It’s disengaging

She is taking a very real and concrete issue (the acceptance of trans people as humans with full rights and respect in society), minimizing it to some surface level features (appearance and names), and then abdicating any responsibility

She is purposefully mischaracterizing trans people as adults playing dress-up and then claiming to be fine with that...at a distance

The language she uses is similar to language used to minimize gay people

“You can kiss whoever you want behind closed doors!”

It’s also similar to the old favorite “I don’t care if you’re black, white, or purple!”

Purple people don’t exist, but now they’ve minimized the issue of racism and swept it away while claiming to be supportive

All of these phrases add up to the same message:

“I support you, as long as you don’t change my experiences or inconvenience me in any way.”

And that’s not actual support
trans  rights  jk-rowling  gender  acceptance  racism 
december 2019
Prof John Byrne: the man who turned Ireland into a tech world power
TK Whitaker may be known as the man who made modern Ireland, but the highly respected civil servant wasn’t the only person who helped make the State what it is today.
For those who wonder how Ireland came to excel both at luring the biggest and best tech companies to set up here and at producing a good few homegrown tech heroes, a great deal of credit must go to Prof John Byrne, the man who helped kickstart a revolution.
tcd  software  ireland  work  history  computer-science 
december 2019
Opinion | Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy - The New York Times
'We identified people at political rallies and protests, in one case from 2016 we saw a Seattle-based Microsoft employee take a day off and visit Amazon's campus...when we found him on LinkedIn in 2019 he was an Amazon employee. Turns out his phone had given away his job interview. In recent months we’ve spoken with people we’ve found in the data. Their reaction is surprising — a blend of contradictory emotions like outrage and apathy. We don't have the language to talk about this stuff. And part of the reason is...we adopted this tech so fast.

A big takeaway from my experience with this reporting: This is the decade we were brainwashed into surveilling ourselves. In just over 10 years we were sold a future of personalization and convenience and paid for it with little pieces of ourselves that we can never get back.'
technology  privacy  surveillance  phones  mobile  location  location-tracking  tracking  geo 
december 2019
The #1 bug predictor is not technical, it's organizational complexity (August Lilleaas' blog)
Organizational Complexity. Measures number of developers working on the module, number of ex-developers that used to work on the module but no longer does, how big a fraction of the organization as a whole that works or has worked on the module, the distance in the organization between the developer and the decision maker, etc.
culture  management  programming  organisations  bureaucracy  bugs  quality 
december 2019
In The 2010s, We All Became Alienated By Technology
Looking back from the shaky edge of a new decade, it’s clear that the past 10 years saw many Americans snap out of this dream, shaken awake by a brutal series of shocks and dislocations from the very changes that were supposed to "create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace.” When they opened their eyes, they did indeed see that the Digital Nation had been born. Only it hadn’t set them free. They were being ruled by it. It hadn’t tamed politics. It sent them berserk. And it hadn’t brought people closer together. It had alienated them.
alienation  wired  future  2010s  america  tech  silicon-valley  internet  history  digital  cyberspace 
december 2019
interesting reverse image search tricks
@AricToler: 'Brief walk-through on how to geolocate this photo from Rudy Giuliani's spokeswoman (subject of this @politico piece https://politico.com/news/2019/12/10/christianne-allen-giuliani-079762) without using any mapping services'

In summary, by careful blurring of the unimportant parts of the image, it becomes possible to search for "background" details. Neat trick (via Hazel_ok)
images  image-search  search  yandex  google  bing  tricks 
december 2019
Hacked-Up Days
'In ancient Rome, we’re all slaves to the sundial.'
sundial  time  technology  history  ancient-rome  rome  poetry 
december 2019
Freeload -- "The Ocean Loader"
a fantastic wee shrine to the Ocean Software fast-loader routine, used in many Commodore 64 games back in the day, written by Paul Hughes and released into the public domain. I spent many an hour of my misspent youth reverse engineering this code!
freeload  c=64  via:mikko  history  commodore-64  microcomputing  reverse-engineering  piracy 
december 2019
Ex-US healthcare industry insider spills the beans on false "choice"
The truth, of course, is you have little "choice" in healthcare now. Most can’t keep their plan as long as they want, or visit any doctor or hospital. Some reforms, like Medicare For All, *would* let you. In other words, M4A actually offers more choice than the status quo. So if a politician tells you they oppose reforming the current healthcare system because they want to preserve "choice," either they don't know what they're talking about - or they're willfully ignoring the truth. I assure you, the insurance industry is delighted either way.

(via Nelson.)
via:nelson  health  healthcare  lies  us-politics  usa  medicine  choice 
december 2019
COP25 Ended in Failure. What’s the Way Forward?
over the last few months, I’ve found myself thinking a lot more about the model offered by the nuclear nonproliferation agreements forged between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the late 1980s — the planet’s two superpowers reaching a kind of consensus about a global existential threat, taking significant (if not complete) steps to mitigate that risk, and then more or less bullying the rest of the world to follow suit. Climate change is a very different challenge, but policy negotiations to address it may nevertheless benefit from reducing the number of sides involved in a game-theory calculus from 186 (the number of nations party to the Paris accords) to just two (in this case, the U.S. and China). Of course, this would require not just a complete change of perspective on climate in Washington but some shift almost as complete in Beijing, where commitments made in 2019 to open new coal plants are sufficient on their own to eliminate the entire planet’s chances of staying below 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming.
nonproliferation  history  agreements  international  us-politics  usa  china  treaties  climate-change 
december 2019
The secret-sharer: evaluating and testing unintended memorization in neural networks
Take a system trained to make predictions on a language (word or character) model – an example you’re probably familiar with is Google Smart Compose. Now feed it a prefix such as “My social security number is “. Can you guess what happens next?
neural-networks  ai  machine-learning  secrets  differential-privacy  training  google  papers  security 
december 2019
COP-25 Report from Prof. John Sweeney of An Taisce
Very negative review from COP-25. This is depressing:
There is no doubt but that the failure of COP25 is symptomatic of a world failing to advance the multilateralism ideals many of us grew up with. International cooperation in economics, politics and in solving environmental problems, such as ozone depletion, have now given way to narrow national and populist ideologies. What is most worrying about current developments in tackling climate change is however the disconnect between the power brokers and society at large. The advice of the scientists and the pleas of the young were ignored in Madrid. Indeed some 200 young people were summarily ejected from the conference after a protest, and the eloquent arguments presented by the young Irish activists at several side events fell on deaf ears. Attempts by some world leaders and some media commentators to direct personal vitriol against young activists even surfaced.
cop25  world  future  climate-change  economics  politics  fail 
december 2019
AI Now 2019 report
'Despite the growth of ethical frameworks, AI systems continue to be deployed rapidly across
domains of considerable social significance—in healthcare, education, employment, criminal
justice, and many others—without appropriate safeguards or accountability structures in place.
Many urgent concerns remain, and the agenda of issues to be addressed continues to grow: the
environmental harms caused by AI systems are considerable, from extraction of materials from
our earth to the extraction of labor from our communities. In healthcare, increasing dependence
on AI systems will have life-or-death consequences. New research also highlights how AI systems
are particularly prone to security vulnerabilities and how the companies building these systems
are inciting fundamental changes to the landscape of our communities, resulting in geographic

Yet the movements of the past year give reason to hope, marked by a groundswell of pushback
from both expected and unexpected places, from regulators and researchers to community
organizers and activists to workers and advocates. Together, they are building new coalitions
upon legacies of older ones, and forging new bonds of solidarity. If the past year has shown us
anything, it is that our future will not be determined by the inevitable progress of AI, nor are we
doomed to a dystopic future. The implications of AI will be determined by us—and there is much
work ahead to ensure that the future looks bright.'
ai  reports  2019  machine-learning  society  future 
december 2019
How Uber Engineering Evaluated JSON Encoding and Compression Algorithms to Put the Squeeze on Trip Data
Key conclusions:

Simply compressing JSON with zlib would yield a reasonable tradeoff in size and speed. The result would be just a little bigger, but execution was much faster than using BZ2 on JSON.
Going with IDL-based protocols, Thrift and Protocol Buffers compressed with zlib or Snappy would give us the best gain in size and/or speed.
compression  json  performance  python  serialization  protobuf  zlib  snappy  cbor  messagepack  thrift  bz2 
december 2019
Low-Cost VPS Testing
more VPS hosting options from Rasmus Lerdorf
cloud  hosting  vps  ops 
december 2019
The Amazon Premium
good list of low-cost "elastic" VM hosting options similar to AWS
aws  google  cloud  hosting  digitalocean  linode  ovh  ops 
december 2019
surveillance technology marketing
'I had a look at some marketing websites for Chinese surveillance technology, and they're pretty much what you'd expect: deeply unsettling.' -- sure are. This is the state of the art for mass-marketed panopticons
panopticon  china  surveillance  grim-meathook-future  facial-recognition  camera  cctv 
december 2019
simonw/datasette: A tool for exploring and publishing data
Datasette is a tool for exploring and publishing data. It helps people take data of any shape or size and publish that as an interactive, explorable website and accompanying API. Datasette is aimed at data journalists, museum curators, archivists, local governments and anyone else who has data that they wish to share with the world.
database  api  json  python  sqlite  data  exploring  csv  tsv 
december 2019
How the Tories won the online election: pick a line, ignore the facts and repeat | Alex Hern | Opinion | The Guardian
The internet wasn’t the place for smart campaigning. The Labour party put out slick video after slick video, outspent the Tories on Snapchat and Facebook, and handed Jeremy Corbyn’s Twitter account to someone who understands memes extremely well for the entirety of election day. The Conservatives simply sat down and spent six weeks being wilfully stupid, and it worked.

In fact, one of the few changes in strategy we saw in the online election was the Conservatives doubling down on simple and stupid. The opening of the campaign was marked by a “shitposting strategy”, with the Tory party sharing low-effort, banally funny campaign messages in the clear hope that they would get as much distribution from opponents as supporters.

But, as the election went on, that approach was dropped in favour of a brutally simple one: pick three lines, whether or not they’re true, and just repeat them, for ever, on every platform, without shame or variation. Invent some Labour policies, make up a price-tag for them, and tweet it out as the cost of Labour. Make up a taxation strategy to pay for it, and tweet that out as the party’s tax bombshell. Endlessly, humourlessly, robotically come back to “get Brexit done”. There are lessons here for other political parties, but they aren’t pretty.
uk  politics  shitposting  brexit  labour  tories 
december 2019
F5 getting a copyright shakedown over NGINX?
This twitter thread seems to allege that Rambler, a Russian ISP, is filing copyright claim over the NGINX source code -- nearly 18 years after it started development
nginx  copyright  open-source  rambler  f5 
december 2019
Queensland school runs out of water as commercial bottlers harvest local supplies | Environment | The Guardian
'Water miners' are now a thing....
The Tamborine Mountain state school has run out of water, even as water miners in the Gold Coast hinterland are sending millions of litres to commercial bottling operations.

Trucks sent by the Queensland government carrying emergency supplies to the school, including Mount Tamborine bottled water, have been passing trucks heading in the opposite direction taking local water to bottling plants for beverage giants such as Coca-Cola.

Water miners in the Mount Tamborine area supply roughly 130m litres of water each year to commercial bottling operations. Now the local bores are running dry.
grim-meathook-future  water  water-mining  mining  resources  future  climate-change  queensland  australia 
december 2019
The Decade the Internet Lost Its Joy
on a systemic level, it’s impossible to ignore the immense effect of capitalistic forces on how we experience the internet today. The pockets of fun will continue to erode until we are all flattened into a single pancake of behavioral data. To rediscover joy on the internet will mean reforming it entirely. When Deadspin was shuttered by its private equity-instilled bosses earlier this year, I blogged that instead of looking backward, we needed to imagine something entirely different. The same goes for the internet as a whole — we need a digital world that is built to take care of us instead of profit from us.
culture  internet  future  capitalism  web  nostalgia  joy  fun  silicon-valley 
december 2019
Internal FAA review envisaged one fatal crash every 2-3 years with 737-MAX
U.S. regulators decided to allow the [Boeing] 737 MAX jet to keep flying after its first fatal crash last fall, despite their own analysis [...] The November 2018 internal Federal Aviation Administration analysis, expected to be released during a House committee hearing Wednesday, reveals that without agency intervention, the MAX could have averaged one fatal crash about every two or three years, according to industry officials and regulators.
faa  fail  regulation  us-politics  boeing  safety  737max  flying  accidents 
december 2019
Denmark adopts climate law to cut emissions 70% by 2030
Denmark’s parliament adopted a new climate law on Friday, committing to reach 70% below its 1990 emissions in the next eleven years.

The law targets carbon neutrality by 2050 and includes a robust monitoring system. New legally-binding targets will be set every five years, with a ten-year perspective. The first of these will be set in 2020.

In what the government claims is a first for a national legislature, the new law also has a commitment to climate engagement internationally. This includes an ongoing obligation to deliver on international agreements, including climate finance to developing countries.
denmark  green  climate-change  2030  eu 
december 2019
Spain Might Be The World’s Most Important Climate Test | HuffPost UK
Can Spain get a Green New Deal enacted in the EU?
the Sánchez administration was forced to call another snap election last month. The Socialists again eked out a slim win, and this time agreed to form a coalition with Unidos Podemos, a party to its left. If Sánchez’s center-left vision of a Green New Deal could be criticized for not being ambitious enough, the inclusion of the anti-austerity Podemos could make the country the first to seriously attempt the kind of Green New Deal progressives elsewhere have laid out to curb soaring economic inequality and planet-heating emissions. 

Green New Dealers on both sides of the Atlantic argue that addressing both crises at once is key to staving off a resurgent neo-fascist right wing. Vox, a far-right party openly nostalgic for Franco-era Spanish authoritarianism, surged from zero to 24 parliamentary seats last April. November’s election brought that total to 52, making it the third-largest party in Spain. 

But, even with a new left flank in the governing coalition, experts say the chances of making transformative changes are slim, thanks to the European Union’s rules on spending and public ownership. It’ll be a test for how much effectively the Green New Deal can beat back the far right while still confined by what one researcher called the “straitjacket of austerity.” 
green-new-deal  green  gnd  climate-change  spain  left-wing  eu 
december 2019
Tensorflow whinge
"Built to do really fancy cutting-edge stuff and also to make common workflows look very easy, but without a middle ground, so either you are doing something very ordinary and your code is 2 lines that magically work, or you’re lost in cryptic error messages coming from mysterious middleware objects that, you learn 5 hours later, exist so the code can run on a steam-powered deep-sea quantum computer cluster or something"

This seems to be a bit of a Google trait. (via Alison Parrish)
tensorflow  api  open-source  snark  whinges 
december 2019
Elon Musk, SpaceX Unveil Latest Starlink Plans, Creating An Astronomical Emergency
The Starlink light-pollution shitfest continues to get worse:
A responsible entity would address the problems they're actively creating and exacerbating before accelerating their launch schedule. A responsible entity would ask for the approval of all affected parties before proceeding further. A responsible entity would honestly and accurately address the real issues at hand, and would demonstrate that they've listened to communities beyond their own through their actions.

On the other hand, an exploitative entity would pay lip service to the communities they affect while continuing to actively harm them. They would ramp up their launch schedule. They would continue to send up offensive, unaltered satellites while putting minimal effort into solving problems that have been raised. They would invite consultants, but would squash any objectionable voices. They would distort the truth about concerns that have been raised. They would put their business interests — such as lucrative potential government contracts — ahead of any human interests. And they would deflect criticism by running PR campaigns that draw attention away from the real issues.
starlink  elon-musk  light  pollution  astronomy  science  space 
december 2019
Now Any Government Can Buy China’s Tools for Censoring the Internet
Well, this is grim:
“Autocracy as a service” lets countries buy or rent the technology and expertise they need, as they need it. It gets around the problem that being able to censor and surveil the internet isn’t just a technology challenge, but a management and human resource one. China offers a full-stack of options up and down the layers of the internet, including policies and laws, communications service providers with full internet shutdown options pre-installed, technical standards, satellites, cables, and infrastructure. This is possible because China has developed its own indigenous internet stack, sometimes copying the foreign technology it sought to replace. China even offers training in governance and strategy, consulting on writing a national strategy, and help building smart cities with its own full surveillance stack, euphemistically called “safe cities.”
grim-meathook-future  china  censorship  future  internet  surveillance  autocracy  repression 
december 2019
The Amazon Builders' Library
Some really good dist-sys/reliability advice from AWS principal engineers, including our team's old principal Jacob Gabrielson and fellow Dub Colm MacCarthaigh
guides  library  howto  advice  principal-engineers  aws  amazon  principals 
december 2019
“Quite Divorced From Reality”: Climate Scientist, Activists Call Out Shell Exec at UN Conference - In These Times
“This is quite divorced from reality, what you are all discussing,” Simon Lewis, a climate science professor at University College London, told the oil executives during a Q+A. Lewis went on to explain to the audience that even if polluters invested in every nature conservation, sustainability agriculture or other “natural climate solution” in the world, those projects would only offset about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions; the vast majority of cuts would still have to come about through actual reductions in fossil fuel use. Given this, Lewis asked them to explain how the initiative was any different from other corporate schemes put forth in past decades—good PR that doesn’t actually tackle the problem.

In addition, carbon offset trading—which has been going on at smaller scales for decades—is no silver bullet. It has had mixed results to date, including failed projects, outright fraud, and human rights abuses against rural, indigenous and other vulnerable communities, prompting fierce opposition from grassroots climate organizations against including carbon trading in the Paris Accord. The carbon trading question is one of the remaining thorny issues country negotiators are supposed to iron out during this two-week climate conference, which ends December 13. The rules for such “market-based solutions” (included in what is technically known as Article 6 of Paris Agreement) were supposed to be decided at last year’s meeting, but countries remain far apart; in fact, some observers wonder if it won’t be punted off again until next year.

Meanwhile, the oil majors have yet to unveil a plan for reducing their own company emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, which calls for dramatically reducing fossil fuel use to prevent climate catastrophe.
shell  offsets  climate-change  climate  simon-lewis 
december 2019
What China's Surveillance Means for the Rest of the World | Time
Bakitali Nur, 47, a fruit and vegetable exporter in the Xinjiang town of Khorgos, was arrested after authorities became suspicious of his frequent business trips abroad. The father of three says he spent a year in a single room with seven other inmates, all clad in blue jumpsuits, forced to sit still on plastic stools for 17 hours straight as four HikVision cameras recorded every move. “Anyone caught talking or moving was forced into stress positions for hours at a time,” he says.

Bakitali was released only after he developed a chronic illness. But his surveillance hell continued over five months of virtual house arrest, which is common for former detainees. He was forbidden from traveling outside his village without permission, and a CCTV camera was installed opposite his home. Every time he approached the front door, a policeman would call to ask where he was going. He had to report to the local government office every day to undergo “political education” and write a self-criticism detailing his previous day’s activities. Unable to travel for work, former detainees like Bakitali are often obliged to toil at government factories for wages as miserly as 35¢ per day, according to former workers interviewed by TIME. “The entire system is designed to suppress us,” Bakitali says in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where he escaped in May.

The result is dystopian. When every aspect of life is under constant scrutiny, it’s not just “bad” behavior that must be avoided. Muslims in Xinjiang are under constant pressure to act in a manner that the CCP would approve. While posting controversial material online is clearly reckless, not using social media at all could also be considered suspicious, so Muslims share glowing news about the country and party as a means of defense.
uighurs  china  dystopia  surveillance  xinjiang  authoritarianism  grim 
december 2019
Not able to configure more than 3 PS Move controllers on a Macbook Pro Retina 13 inch, Early 2015 :: Sportsfriends General Discussions
How to get 7 PS Move controllers working on recent Mac hardware -- use an external Bluetooth dongle. Vital to be able to play Johann Sebastian Joust
joust  sportsfriends  games  bluetooth  tips  osx  macos 
december 2019
Low Carbon Kubernetes Scheduler
'A demand side management solution that consumes electricity in low grid carbon intensity areas':
To justify Kubernetes’ ability or globally distributed deployments the researchers chose to optimize placement to regions with the greatest degree of solar irradiance termed a Heliotropic Scheduler.

This scheduler is termed ‘heliotropic’ in order to differentiate it from a ‘follow-the-sun’ application management policy that relates to meeting customer demand around the world by placing staff and resources in proximity to those locations (thereby making them available to clients at lower latency and at a suitable time of day). A ‘heliotropic’ policy, on the other hand, goes to where sunlight, and by extension solar irradiance, is abundant. They further evaluated the Heliotropic Scheduler implementation by running BOINC jobs on Kubernetes.
carbon  climate  co2  kubernetes  heliotropic-scheduling  energy 
december 2019
Algorithmic art theft
This is amazing. It seems that bots are searching twitter for "I want this on a shirt!" comments, and printing t-shirts on demand using whatever image was in the replied-to tweet -- regardless of artist permission or credit. Cue hi-jinks
funny  art  theft  bots  twitter  tee-shirts 
december 2019
Climate models have been correct for literally 40 years
Well well well. Climate deniers have been making it up all along.
According to the research published today, almost every peer-reviewed climate model of human-caused global temperature rise dating back to 1970 lines up with the warming we see today.

“In scientific terms, we'd say there's no bias,” the paper’s co-author Henri Drake, a PhD candidate at MIT, told me over the phone. “Once we accounted for the differences in CO2 emissions, 14 of the 17 models we analyzed were consistent with current observations.”

“Taken together,” he added, “these climate models have always been quantitatively accurate.”
climate-change  climate  modelling  simulation  science  history  co2  ghgs 
december 2019
China Uses DNA to Map Faces, With Help From the West - The New York Times
China continues to break new ground in grim meathook future dystopia:
The Chinese government is building “essentially technologies used for hunting people,” said Mark Munsterhjelm, an assistant professor at the University of Windsor in Ontario who tracks Chinese interest in the technology. In the world of science, Dr. Munsterhjelm said, “there’s a kind of culture of complacency that has now given way to complicity.”
grim-meathook-future  china  racism  science  surveillance  dna  phenotypes 
december 2019
An excellent global climate simulation tool, to roughly model climate change management strategies and their impacts. (It's not good news.)
climate-change  climate  simulations  tools  web  future 
december 2019
John Barnett on Why He Won’t Fly on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner
An ex-quality manager at Boeing for 35 years says:
“When I worked on the 747, the 767, the 777 in Everett, those are beautiful planes. And the people there fully understood what it took to build a safe and airworthy aircraft. I hate to throw the entire label over the whole product line. But as far as the 787, I would change flights before I would fly a 787. I’ve told my family — please don’t fly a 787. Fly something else. Try to get a different ticket. I want the people to know what they are riding on.”
business  flight  flying  safety  boeing  danger  787  john-barnett  whistleblowers 
december 2019
'You're free to use this package, but if it makes it to your production environment I would highly appreciate you buying the world a tree. It’s now common knowledge that one of the best tools to tackle the climate crisis and keep our temperatures from rising above 1.5C is to plant trees. If you contribute to my forest you’ll be creating employment for local families and restoring wildlife habitats.'

Using offset.earth.
treeware  open-source  shareware  software  offsetting  carbon-capture  trees 
december 2019
Home Automation Without The Cloud
some recommendations from Aaron Parecki, via Nelson
via:nelson  house  home  automation  iot  cloud-free 
december 2019
CMIP6 increases estimated effects of climate change
The RCP8.5 "business as usual" scenario is now up to an estimated average of 5.5 degrees C, which would be arguably civilization-ending IMO
rcp8.5  climate-change  climate  estimates  future  cmip6 
december 2019
Dexcom T1 diabetes glucose monitoring devices suffer major outage
This is really shocking ineptitude. The level of incident response would have been poor for a gaming company, never mind one selling vital healthcare appliances on which peoples' lives depend.
healthcare  incident-response  outages  fail  dexcom  diabetes  hardware  iot  devices  internet-of-shit  grim-meathook-future 
december 2019
"Let Kids Be Kids"
Worrying Twitter thread on a new self-declared "grassroots" campaign group campaigning against sex ed in Irish schools, which seems to have local far right involvement
far-right  ireland  lkbk  kids  sex-education  education  schools  campaigns 
november 2019
Computer Architecture Lecture 6b: Computation in Memory I
Lecture notes from Prof. Onur Mutlu, ETH Zurich:

'Energy Waste in Mobile Devices: 62.7% of total system energy is spent on data movement [ie. memory fetches]'

Moving data processing closer to the data storage will improve energy efficiency.
compsci  papers  notes  pdf  memory  onur-mutlu  sustainability  power  hardware  processors 
november 2019
Climate emergency: world 'may already have crossed several tipping points’
The world may already have crossed a series of climate tipping points, according to a stark warning from scientists. This risk is “an existential threat to civilisation”, they say, meaning “we are in a state of planetary emergency”.

Tipping points are reached when particular impacts of global heating become unstoppable, such as the runaway loss of ice sheets or forests. In the past, extreme heating of 5C was thought necessary to pass tipping points, but the latest evidence suggests this could happen between 1C and 2C.

The planet has already heated by 1C and the temperature is certain to rise further, due to past emissions and because greenhouse gas levels are still rising. The scientists further warn that one tipping point, such as the release of methane from thawing permafrost, may fuel others, leading to a cascade.
climate-change  climate  tipping-points  nature 
november 2019
China’s Operating Manuals for Mass Internment and Arrest by Algorithm - ICIJ
“The Chinese have bought into a model of policing where they believe that through the collection of large-scale data run through artificial intelligence and machine learning that they can, in fact, predict ahead of time where possible incidents might take place, as well as identify possible populations that have the propensity to engage in anti-state anti-regime action,” said Mulvenon, the SOS International document expert and director of intelligence integration. “And then they are preemptively going after those people using that data.”

Mulvenon said IJOP is more than a “pre-crime” platform, but a “machine-learning, artificial intelligence, command and control” platform that substitutes artificial intelligence for human judgment. He described it as a “cybernetic brain” central to China’s most advanced police and military strategies. Such a system “infantilizes” those tasked with implementing it, said Mulvenon, creating the conditions for policies that could spin out of control with catastrophic results.

The program collects and interprets data without regard to privacy, and flags ordinary people for investigation based on seemingly innocuous criteria, such as daily prayer, travel abroad, or frequently using the back door of their home.

Perhaps even more significant than the actual data collected are the grinding psychological effects of living under such a system.  With batteries of facial-recognition cameras on street corners, endless checkpoints and webs of informants, IJOP generates a sense of an omniscient, omnipresent state that can peer into the most intimate aspects of daily life.  As neighbors disappear based on the workings of unknown algorithms, Xinjiang lives in a perpetual state of terror.

The seeming randomness of investigations resulting from IJOP isn’t a bug but a feature, said Samantha Hoffman, an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute whose research focuses on China’s use of data collection for social control. “That’s how state terror works,” Hoffman said. “Part of the fear that this instills is that you don’t know when you’re not OK.”
terror  dystopia  china  algorithms  ijop  future  policing  grim-meathook-future  privacy  data-privacy  uighurs 
november 2019
Want To Make Money? Build A Business On A Bike Lane
“Local stores next to the protected bike lane have seen a 49% increase in sales, compared to an average of 3% for Manhattan as a whole.”
numbers  statistics  cycling  bike-lanes  shops 
november 2019
Home automation with Home Assistant on an Odroid XU4
this looks great, I may need to do some hacking with my Odroid
odroid  hacks  home-automation  home-assistant  home 
november 2019
Sacha Baron Cohen Uses ADL Speech to Tear Apart Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook
“if Facebook were around in the 1930s, it would have allowed Hitler to post 30-second ads on his ‘solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem,’” he said. “So here’s a good standard and practice: Facebook, start fact-checking political ads before you run them, stop micro-targeted lies immediately, and when the ads are false, give back the money and don’t publish them.” [...] “if we prioritize truth over lies, tolerance over prejudice, empathy over indifference and experts over ignoramuses” then “maybe, just maybe, we can stop the greatest propaganda machine in history, we can save democracy, we can still have a place for free speech and free expression, and, most importantly, my jokes will still work.”
adl  sacha-baron-cohen  racism  facts  fact-checking  facebook  social-media  propaganda  truth 
november 2019
New Google political ad policy
'If the new Google policy was applied by Facebook, nearly every ad running on that platform for #GE2019
[the upcoming UK general election] would have to be pulled (most use custom, lookalike and/or interest-based audience targeting).'
targeting  google  facebook  ads  politics  uk 
november 2019
a scalable overlay networking tool with a focus on performance, simplicity and security. It lets you seamlessly connect computers anywhere in the world. Nebula is portable, and runs on Linux, OSX, and Windows. [...] It can be used to connect a small number of computers, but is also able to connect tens of thousands of computers.

Nebula incorporates a number of existing concepts like encryption, security groups, certificates, and tunneling, and each of those individual pieces existed before Nebula in various forms. What makes Nebula different to existing offerings is that it brings all of these ideas together, resulting in a sum that is greater than its individual parts.

Nebula is a mutually authenticated peer-to-peer software defined network based on the Noise Protocol Framework. Nebula uses certificates to assert a node's IP address, name, and membership within user-defined groups. Nebula's user-defined groups allow for provider agnostic traffic filtering between nodes. Discovery nodes allow individual peers to find each other and optionally use UDP hole punching to establish connections from behind most firewalls or NATs. Users can move data between nodes in any number of cloud service providers, datacenters, and endpoints, without needing to maintain a particular addressing scheme.
Nebula uses elliptic curve Diffie-Hellman key exchange, and AES-256-GCM in its default configuration.

Nebula was created to provide a mechanism for groups [of] hosts to communicate securely, even across the internet, while enabling expressive firewall definitions similar in style to cloud security groups.
networking  vpn  nebula  slack  ops  crypto  overlay-networks  tunnelling 
november 2019
Horace Goes Copyright Striking / Boing Boing
aka “Horace Goes To The Job Centre Because His IP Holder Took A Shit On Literally The Only People Who Give A Fuck About The Character”.

As of November 14, [Octav1us'] social media channels are deactivated, reportedly to avoid the continuing abuse she receives from anonymous users. For a young woman appropriating the obscure personas of 8-bit British game history, hostility comes in forms both legal and personal. But the message is always the same: stay off the slopes.
horace  skiing  copyright  ip  subvert  youtube  history  80s 
november 2019
everyone is a badass until there’s a knock at the door | MetaFilter
scary things happening to Naomi Wu. I'm deeply unimpressed by Sarah Jeong and Hasan Minhaj so irresponsibly putting someone in an authoritarian society in danger
china  lgbt  metafilter  shenzen  naomi-wu  via:nelson 
november 2019
Using solar power and carbon capture to make carbon-neutral liquid hydrocarbons
David Keith: 'Cheap intermittent solar power can make carbon-neutral hydrocarbons: high-energy fuels that are easy to store and use. My 12 min talk at Royal Society #CodexTalks describes a low-risk fast path to industrial-scale solar-fuels.'
carbon  carbon-sequestration  carbon-capture  royal-society  co2  hydrocarbons  fuel  solar  climate-change 
november 2019
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