Alex Stamos on Twitter: "@Pinboard Whenever somebody writes an HN post on how much cheaper self hosting is than IaaS I recommend they carry a pager for a year."
note the response. all maciej's ranting about the evils of the cloud rests on a basic ethos of irresponsibility. which is fine for some services! but you have to know when to just disregard his bullshit.
cloud-computing  infrastructure  system-administration 
4 hours ago
DHS’s Biometric Exit program is starting to scan Americans’ faces before they get on international flights.
<< in June of last year, without congressional authorization, and without consulting the public, the Department of Homeland Security started scanning the faces of Americans leaving the country, too. >>
corruption  surveillance-state  crime 
2 days ago
Power Causes Brain Damage - The Atlantic
It is highly irritating that the only study behind this is the standard "a few dozen undergrads in lab conditions for about an hour" setup that is the norm for psychology studies. One wonders if the neuroscience spin even adds any validity to the thesis of this article; would it be better as a historical essay?
psychology  pop-science 
6 days ago
Keybase chooses Zcash
For a while I have been saying that Bitcoin is the MySpace of cryptocurrencies. There are three fundamental design axes where Bitcoin chose wrong: privacy, efficiency, and inflation. All three were quite intentional, of course, with the possible exception of privacy. But anyway, this post illustrates the privacy problem.
cryptocurrency  privacy 
7 days ago
Uber Exec Fired Over His Handling Of Rape Victim's Case In India: SFist
This is really getting exhausting. I mean look at this shit. Kalanick really just has no moral compass and this causes him to consistently hire people who similarly have no moral compass.
uber  corruption 
17 days ago
Tyranid's Lair: Reading Your Way Around UAC (Part 3)
tl;dr: << About the safest way of using Windows is to run as a normal user and use Fast User Switching to login to a new session with a separate administrator account. The price of Fast User Switching is the friction of hitting CTRL+ALT-DEL, then selecting Switch User, then typing in a password. Perhaps though that friction has additional benefits. >>
windows  windows-annoyances  system-administration  security 
18 days ago
Trickle-down workaholism in startups – Signal v. Noise
<<Not only are these sacrifices statistically overwhelmingly likely to be in vain, they’re also completely disproportionate. The programmer or designer or writer or even manager that gives up their life for a 80+ hour moonshot will comparably-speaking be compensated in bananas, even if their lottery coupon should line up. The lion’s share will go to the Scar and his hyenas, not the monkeys.>>
silicon-valley  culture  startups 
25 days ago
Eschaton: Because I Am Not Serious
Seriously, sometimes Atrios still speaks the truth better than anyone.
trump  politics  united-states  psychology 
5 weeks ago
I've been a (perhaps not so) secret fan of Vaporwave
<<... for a few years now and it’s amazing to see how it’s evolved over the years. Here’s the product of one night’s attempt to pull together a diverse range of what Vaporwave has become>>
5 weeks ago
[1705.03394] That is not dead which can eternal lie: the aestivation hypothesis for resolving Fermi's paradox
<<If a civilization wants to maximize computation it appears rational to aestivate until the far future in order to exploit the low temperature environment: this can produce a 10^30 multiplier of achievable computation. We hence suggest the "aestivation hypothesis": the reason we are not observing manifestations of alien civilizations is that they are currently (mostly) inactive, patiently waiting for future cosmic eras. This paper analyzes the assumptions going into the hypothesis and how physical law and observational evidence constrain the motivations of aliens compatible with the hypothesis.>>
fermi-paradox  aliens  computer-science  futurism 
6 weeks ago
Neil Fraser: News: CS in VN
Anecdotally, I have a colleague who ran an onboarding session for our platform SDK at a Vietnamese outsourcing firm and he said their engineers are very sharp.
programming  education  computer-science 
6 weeks ago
Intel's Management Engine is a security hazard, and users need a way to disable it | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Since 2008, most of Intel’s chipsets have contained a tiny homunculus computer called the “Management Engine” (ME). The ME is a largely undocumented master controller for your CPU: it works with system firmware during boot and has direct access to system memory, the screen, keyboard, and network. All of the code inside the ME is secret, signed, and tightly controlled by Intel. Last week, vulnerabilities in the Active Management (AMT) module in some Management Engines have caused lots of machines with Intel CPUs to be disastrously vulnerable to remote and local attackers. While AMT can be disabled, there is presently no way to disable or limit the Management Engine in general.
. . .
On many Intel chips, the Management Engine is shipped with the AMT module installed. It is intended to allow system administrators to remotely control the machines used by an organization and its employees. A vulnerability announced on May 1 allows an attacker to bypass password authentication for this remote management module, meaning that in many situations remote attackers can acquire the same capabilities as an organization’s IT team, if active management was enabled and provisioned.
intel  security  vulnerabilities  hardware 
6 weeks ago
The Racial Wealth Gap and Homeownership Nonsense – MattBruenig | Politics
Yet another way that economic policies that favor real estate as an asset class are profoundly misguided.
economic-inequality  racism  real-estate 
6 weeks ago
Ancillary Sword, by Ann Leckie (@Kindle)
Finished 2017-05-06. Ancillary Justice was promising; its sequel, although enjoyable in some ways, is unfortunately a letdown.

It may be unfair to compare Leckie to Iain M. Banks, but it is hard to escape the comparison. Banks was doing conceptual science fiction ("what if there were an anarchic post-scarcity civilization run by superintelligent AI that justified its existence through a messianic mission of subtle and devious intervention?"), Leckie is doing the British Raj in Space ("here is an interstellar empire, it oppresses the colonials in the exact ways that colonial powers always have, let's have some tea" --- and calling the empire the "Radch" is seriously on-the-nose). Maybe I'm more annoyed than I should be because I feel there was so much potential left on the table here. We are put in the viewpoint of a sharded-off fragment of an AI hive mind in the midst of a galactic civil war and we get a drawing room drama about whether to set out the good china for the guests (this is not an exaggeration), taking place entirely in a single gravity well.

Also, there are some basic nuts and bolts failures of craft:

+ The editing is tragically negligent. Count for yourself how many times you are repetitively reminded that the viewpoint character is a former ancillary.

+ Presumably in order to stretch the material across the trilogy format which is so integral to contemporary publishing, the "novel" (really, half a novel) ends with no particular fanfare right at a critical turning point of plot.

+ The whole issue of ancillaries --- Leckie's biggest science-fictional conceit in this series --- is addressed in a rather muddled way. The protagonist's attitude towards ancillaries and the process of making them is incongruously inconsistent with her (admittedly evolving) attitude in the previous novel, even though this one picks up almost the instant after the end of that one. Furthermore, the removal of Tisarwat's implants --- which is, more or less, like liberating an ancillary --- seems to be treated, by the protagonist, all the other characters, and (crucially) the narrative itself, as a purely practical problem rather than a problematic, historically unique refutation of the empire's historical attitudes towards ancillary slavery. It would be fine to have the characters themselves paper over all this cognitive dissonance, but it feels like a jarring omission for the author to fail to address or at least gesture towards the questions that should be raised in an active reader's mind. Apart from the wasted science-fictional potential, this is rather like a more elevated version of when you see characters in a horror movie stupidly walking unarmed into dark places that are full of monsters --- here we have characters confronting gigantic challenges to their way of thinking without reacting.

Nevertheless, despite all my complaints, there's a better-than-even chance that I'll read the 3rd. I'm rooting for Leckie to realize the potential of this premise, and there is still enough here to be basically an enjoyable read.

p.s. The gender thing is a fun twist and the kind of thing I would like to see more of. But it faded into the background for me in the middle of the last novel. It is amusing to spend a few spare brain cycles now and then wondering if the sex you inevitably assign mentally to certain characters would match up with the author's, and that play can be thought-provoking, but this is frosting, and the fundamental cake is somewhat underbaked.
booklog  finished:2017  fiction  science-fiction 
7 weeks ago
Weekend Reading: Daniel Davies: Why a Speech from Barack Obama is Worth $400,000
Banking and corporate finance are relationship businesses, and political household names are marketing gold. They attract the kind of people who are otherwise very difficult to get hold of: they make the clients feel important, and burnish the image of the banker who organised the event as someone who is at ease in the corridors of power. You need to secure only one advisory role on a big deal to justify years and years of paying for former world leaders to decorate your corporate social life.

The fundamental insight here is that the reason that we can be sure that these payments are not purely transactional is that nothing in investment banking is purely transactional. Across fields from advisory to research to capital markets, bankers are used to working on spec, building relationships and trust, and eventually getting paid at the time of a big transaction. . . .

So payments to former politicians for speeches and access shouldn’t be seen as straightforward purchases of services; they are one of the ways in which bankers invest in an overall ecosystem that they think benefits them.

DeLong and Davies might mean this to be a sort of defense, but in a larger sense it is just a more accurate but still damning description of the ecosystem of power.
corruption  politics  finance  culture  business 
8 weeks ago
Jeff Atwood @codinghorror I am getting a lot of blowback for advocating @tqbf's "don't ever use Linode for security reasons I can't elaborate on" position
Read the thread. This is how security information gets disseminated in some cases these days: reputable people get on Twitter and say stuff.
security  computing  cloud-computing  hosting 
8 weeks ago
Jerry Saltz: My Life As a Failed Artist
It is quite rare to have such a frank dissection of one's own failures.

<< When I arrived in New York in 1980 to become part of that world, I didn’t know what hit me or how much of the deep content in my art had to do with Chicago, my own naïveté, and isolation. I was so out of step. Chicago was still involved with 1970s Conceptualism, straight photography, regional ideas of hard-edged abstraction, process art, and Pluralism. Things in New York were so different: The city was exploding in Neo-Expressionism, Pictures, and graffiti art. The first of these was out of my painterly and scale reach; the second, out of my intellectual depth; the last was nothing I was involved with, and I could never stay up late enough or do enough drugs to really participate in clubbing.

I was in shock, unable to muster what real artists use to fortify themselves when faced with situations like this. When I teach today, I often judge young artists based on whether I think they have the character necessary to solve the inevitable problems in their work. I didn’t. I also didn’t understand how to respond to an outer world out of step with my inner life without retreating into total despair. Oscar Wilde said, “Without the critical faculty, there is no artistic creation at all.” Artists have to be self-critical enough not to just attack everything they do. I had self-doubt but not a real self-critical facility; instead I indiscriminately loved or hated everything I did. Instead of gearing up and fighting back, I gave in and got out. >>
art  career-advice 
9 weeks ago
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