Links for 2017-10-23

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Links for 2017-10-20

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Links for 2017-10-19

  • Open-sourcing RacerD: Fast static race detection at scale | Engineering Blog | Facebook Code

    At Facebook we have been working on automated reasoning about concurrency in our work with the Infer static analyzer. RacerD, our new open source race detector, searches for data races — unsynchronized memory accesses, where one is a write — in Java programs, and it does this without running the program it is analyzing. RacerD employs symbolic reasoning to cover many paths through an app, quickly.
    This sounds extremely interesting…

    (tags: racerd race-conditions data-races thread-safety static-code-analysis coding testing facebook open-source infer)

  • Solera – Wikipedia

    Fascinating stuff — from Felix Cohen’s excellent twitter thread.

    Solera is a process for aging liquids such as wine, beer, vinegar, and brandy, by fractional blending in such a way that the finished product is a mixture of ages, with the average age gradually increasing as the process continues over many years. The purpose of this labor-intensive process is the maintenance of a reliable style and quality of the beverage over time. Solera means literally “on the ground” in Spanish, and it refers to the lower level of the set of barrels or other containers used in the process; the liquid (traditionally transferred from barrel to barrel, top to bottom, the oldest mixtures being in the barrel right “on the ground”), although the containers in today’s process are not necessarily stacked physically in the way that this implies, but merely carefully labeled. Products which are often solera aged include Sherry, Madeira, Lillet, Port wine, Marsala, Mavrodafni, Muscat, and Muscadelle wines; Balsamic, Commandaria, some Vins doux naturels, and Sherry vinegars; Brandy de Jerez; beer; rums; and whiskies. Since the origin of this process is undoubtedly out of the Iberian peninsula, most of the traditional terminology was in Spanish, Portuguese, or Catalan.

    (tags: wine aging solera sherry muscat vinegar brandy beer rum whiskey whisky brewing spain)

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Links for 2017-10-18

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Links for 2017-10-11

  • Study: wearing hi-viz clothing does not reduce risk of collision for cyclists

    Journal of Transport & Health, 22 March 2017:

    This study found no evidence that cyclists using conspicuity aids were at reduced risk of a collision crash compared to non-users after adjustment for confounding, but there was some evidence of an increase in risk. Bias and residual confounding from differing route selection and cycling behaviours in users of conspicuity aids are possible explanations for these findings. Conspicuity aids may not be effective in reducing collision crash risk for cyclists in highly-motorised environments when used in the absence of other bicycle crash prevention measures such as increased segregation or lower motor vehicle speeds.

    (tags: health safety hi-viz clothing cycling commute visibility collision crashes papers)

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Links for 2017-10-10

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Links for 2017-10-09

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Links for 2017-10-06

  • The world’s first cyber-attack, on the Chappe telegraph system, in Bordeaux in 1834

    The Blanc brothers traded government bonds at the exchange in the city of Bordeaux, where information about market movements took several days to arrive from Paris by mail coach. Accordingly, traders who could get the information more quickly could make money by anticipating these movements. Some tried using messengers and carrier pigeons, but the Blanc brothers found a way to use the telegraph line instead. They bribed the telegraph operator in the city of Tours to introduce deliberate errors into routine government messages being sent over the network. The telegraph’s encoding system included a “backspace” symbol that instructed the transcriber to ignore the previous character. The addition of a spurious character indicating the direction of the previous day’s market movement, followed by a backspace, meant the text of the message being sent was unaffected when it was written out for delivery at the end of the line. But this extra character could be seen by another accomplice: a former telegraph operator who observed the telegraph tower outside Bordeaux with a telescope, and then passed on the news to the Blancs. The scam was only uncovered in 1836, when the crooked operator in Tours fell ill and revealed all to a friend, who he hoped would take his place. The Blanc brothers were put on trial, though they could not be convicted because there was no law against misuse of data networks. But the Blancs’ pioneering misuse of the French network qualifies as the world’s first cyber-attack.

    (tags: bordeaux hacking history security technology cyber-attacks telegraph telegraphes-chappe)

  • Slack 103: Communication and culture

    Interesting note on some emergent Slack communications systems using emoji: “redirect raccoon”, voting, and “I’m taking a look at this”

    (tags: slack communications emojis emoji online talk chat)

  • This Future Looks Familiar: Watching Blade Runner in 2017

    I told a lot of people that I was going to watch Blade Runner for the first time, because I know that people have opinions about Blade Runner. All of them gave me a few watery opinions to keep in mind going in—nothing that would spoil me, but things that would help me understand what they assured me would be a Very Strange Film. None of them told me the right things, though.

    (tags: culture movies film blade-runner politics slavery replicants)

  • poor man’s profiler

    ‘Sampling tools like oprofile or dtrace’s profile provider don’t really provide methods to see what [multithreaded] programs are blocking on – only where they spend CPU time. Though there exist advanced techniques (such as systemtap and dtrace call level probes), it is overkill to build upon that. Poor man doesn’t have time. Poor man needs food.’ Basically periodically grabbing stack traces from running processes using gdb.

    (tags: gdb profiling linux unix mark-callaghan stack-traces performance)

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Links for 2017-10-05

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Links for 2017-10-03

  • Intel pcj library for persistent memory-oriented data structures

    This is a “pilot” project to develop a library for Java objects stored in persistent memory. Persistent collections are being emphasized because many applications for persistent memory seem to map well to the use of collections. One of this project’s goals is to make programming with persistent objects feel natural to a Java developer, for example, by using familiar Java constructs when incorporating persistence elements such as data consistency and object lifetime. The breadth of persistent types is currently limited and the code is not performance-optimized. We are making the code available because we believe it can be useful in experiments to retrofit existing Java code to use persistent memory and to explore persistent Java programming in general.
    (via Mario Fusco)

    (tags: persistent-memory data-structures storage persistence java coding future)

  • Google and Facebook Have Failed Us – The Atlantic

    There’s no hiding behind algorithms anymore. The problems cannot be minimized. The machines have shown they are not up to the task of dealing with rare, breaking news events, and it is unlikely that they will be in the near future. More humans must be added to the decision-making process, and the sooner the better.

    (tags: algorithms facebook google las-vegas news filtering hoaxes 4chan abuse breaking-news responsibility silicon-valley)

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Links for 2017-10-02

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Links for 2017-09-29

  • The Israeli Digital Rights Movement’s campaign for privacy | Internet Policy Review

    This study explores the persuasion techniques used by the Israeli Digital Rights Movement in its campaign against Israel’s biometric database. The research was based on analysing the movement’s official publications and announcements and the journalistic discourse that surrounded their campaign within the political, judicial, and public arenas in 2009-2017. The results demonstrate how the organisation navigated three persuasion frames to achieve its goals: the unnecessity of a biometric database in democracy; the database’s ineffectiveness; and governmental incompetence in securing it. I conclude by discussing how analysing civil society privacy campaigns can shed light over different regimes of privacy governance. [….] 1. Why the database should be abolished: because it’s not necessary – As the organisation highlighted repeatedly throughout the campaign with the backing of cyber experts, there is a significant difference between issuing smart documents and creating a database. Issuing smart documents effectively solves the problem of stealing and forging official documents, but does it necessarily entail the creation of a database? The activists’ answer is no: they declared that while they do support the transition to smart documents (passports and ID cards) for Israeli citizens, they object to the creation of a database due to its violation of citizens’ privacy. 2. Why the database should be abolished: because it’s ineffective; […] 3. Why the database should be abolished: because it will be breached – The final argument was that the database should be abolished because the government would not be able to guarantee protection against security breaches, and hence possible identity theft.

    (tags: digital-rights privacy databases id-cards israel psc drm identity-theft security)

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Links for 2017-09-28

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Links for 2017-09-27

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Links for 2017-09-21

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Links for 2017-09-20

  • Locking, Little’s Law, and the USL

    Excellent explanatory mailing list post by Martin Thompson to the mechanical-sympathy group, discussing Little’s Law vs the USL:

    Little’s law can be used to describe a system in steady state from a queuing perspective, i.e. arrival and leaving rates are balanced. In this case it is a crude way of modelling a system with a contention percentage of 100% under Amdahl’s law, in that throughput is one over latency. However this is an inaccurate way to model a system with locks. Amdahl’s law does not account for coherence costs. For example, if you wrote a microbenchmark with a single thread to measure the lock cost then it is much lower than in a multi-threaded environment where cache coherence, other OS costs such as scheduling, and lock implementations need to be considered. Universal Scalability Law (USL) accounts for both the contention and the coherence costs. http://www.perfdynamics.com/Manifesto/USLscalability.html When modelling locks it is necessary to consider how contention and coherence costs vary given how they can be implemented. Consider in Java how we have biased locking, thin locks, fat locks, inflation, and revoking biases which can cause safe points that bring all threads in the JVM to a stop with a significant coherence component.

    (tags: usl scaling scalability performance locking locks java jvm amdahls-law littles-law system-dynamics modelling systems caching threads schedulers contention)

  • “HTML email, was that your fault?”

    jwz may indeed have invented this feature way back in Netscape Mail. FWIW I think he’s right — Netscape Mail was the first usage of HTML email I recall

    (tags: netscape history html email smtp mime mozilla jwz)

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Links for 2017-09-19

  • Undercover operation ‘Close Pass’ reduced cyclist injuries by 20% in a year

    An initiative to protect cyclists from dangerous overtaking has been praised, after reducing the amount of cyclists killed or seriously injured on the roads by 20% over the last year. Operation ‘Close Pass’ was devised by West Midlands Police as a low cost way of preventing accidents caused by motorists who are driving too close for comfort.
    (Via Tony Finch)

    (tags: cycling via:fanf safety overtaking roads bikes)

  • Normietivity: A Review of Angela Nagle’s Kill all Normies

    Due to a persistent vagueness in targets and refusal to respond to the best arguments presented by those she loosely groups together, Nagle does not provide the thoroughgoing and immanent treatment of the left which would be required to achieve the profound intervention she clearly intended. Nor does she grapple with the difficult implications figures like Greer (with her transphobic campaign against a vulnerable colleague) and Milo (with his direct advocacy for the nativist and carceral state) present for free speech absolutists. And indeed, the blurring their specifically shared transphobia causes for distinguishing between left and right wing social analysis. In genre terms, Nagle’s writing is best described as travel writing for internet culture. Kill All Normies provides a string of curios and oddities (from neo-nazi cults, to inscrutably gendered teenagers) to an audience expected to find them unfamiliar, and titillating. Nagle attempts to cast herself as an aloof and wry explorer, but at various points her commitments become all too clear. Nagle implicitly casts her reader as the eponymous normies, overlooking those of us who live through lives with transgenders, in the wake of colonialism, despite invisible disabilities (including depression), and all the rest. This is both a shame and a missed opportunity, because the deadly violence the Alt-Right has proven itself capable of is in urgent need of evaluation, but so too are the very real dysfunctions which afflict the left (both online and IRL). After this book patient, discerning, explanatory, and immanent readings of internet culture remain sorely needed. The best that can be said for Kill All Normies is, as the old meme goes, “An attempt was made.”

    (tags: angela-nagle normies books reading transphobia germaine-greer milo alt-right politics internet 4chan)

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Links for 2017-09-18

  • Native Memory Tracking

    Java 8 HotSpot feature to monitor and diagnose native memory leaks

    (tags: java jvm memory native-memory malloc debugging coding nmt java-8 jcmd)

  • This Heroic Captain Defied His Orders and Stopped America From Starting World War III

    Captain William Bassett, a USAF officer stationed at Okinawa on October 28, 1962, can now be added alongside Stanislav Petrov to the list of people who have saved the world from WWIII:

    By [John] Bordne’s account, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Air Force crews on Okinawa were ordered to launch 32 missiles, each carrying a large nuclear warhead. […] The Captain told Missile Operations Center over the phone that he either needed to hear that the threat level had been raised to DEFCON 1 and that he should fire the nukes, or that he should stand down. We don’t know exactly what the Missile Operations Center told Captain Bassett, but they finally received confirmation that they should not launch their nukes. After the crisis had passed Bassett reportedly told his men: “None of us will discuss anything that happened here tonight, and I mean anything. No discussions at the barracks, in a bar, or even here at the launch site. You do not even write home about this. Am I making myself perfectly clear on this subject?”

    (tags: wwiii history nukes cuban-missile-crisis 1960s usaf okinawa missiles william-bassett)

  • malware piggybacking on CCleaner

    On September 13, 2017 while conducting customer beta testing of our new exploit detection technology, Cisco Talos identified a specific executable which was triggering our advanced malware protection systems. Upon closer inspection, the executable in question was the installer for CCleaner v5.33, which was being delivered to endpoints by the legitimate CCleaner download servers. Talos began initial analysis to determine what was causing this technology to flag CCleaner. We identified that even though the downloaded installation executable was signed using a valid digital signature issued to Piriform, CCleaner was not the only application that came with the download. During the installation of CCleaner 5.33, the 32-bit CCleaner binary that was included also contained a malicious payload that featured a Domain Generation Algorithm (DGA) as well as hardcoded Command and Control (C2) functionality. We confirmed that this malicious version of CCleaner was being hosted directly on CCleaner’s download server as recently as September 11, 2017.

    (tags: ccleaner malware avast piriform windows security)

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Links for 2017-09-15

  • Malicious typosquatting packages in PyPI

    skcsirt-sa-20170909-pypi vulnerability announcement from SK-CSIRT:

    SK-CSIRT identified malicious software libraries in the official Python package repository, PyPI, posing as well known libraries. A prominent example is a fake package urllib-1.21.1.tar.gz, based upon a well known package urllib3-1.21.1.tar.gz. Such packages may have been downloaded by unwitting developer or administrator by various means, including the popular “pip” utility (pip install urllib). There is evidence that the fake packages have indeed been downloaded and incorporated into software multiple times between June 2017 and September 2017.

    (tags: pypi python typos urllib security malware)

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Links for 2017-09-14

  • London police’s use of AFR facial recognition falls flat on its face

    A “top-of-the-line” automated facial recognition (AFR) system trialled for the second year in a row at London’s Notting Hill Carnival couldn’t even tell the difference between a young woman and a balding man, according to a rights group worker invited to view it in action. Because yes, of course they did it again: London’s Met police used controversial, inaccurate, largely unregulated automated facial recognition (AFR) technology to spot troublemakers. And once again, it did more harm than good. Last year, it proved useless. This year, it proved worse than useless: it blew up in their faces, with 35 false matches and one wrongful arrest of somebody erroneously tagged as being wanted on a warrant for a rioting offense. […] During a recent, scathing US House oversight committee hearing on the FBI’s use of the technology, it emerged that 80% of the people in the FBI database don’t have any sort of arrest record. Yet the system’s recognition algorithm inaccurately identifies them during criminal searches 15% of the time, with black women most often being misidentified.

    (tags: face-recognition afr london notting-hill-carnival police liberty met-police privacy data-privacy algorithms)

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Links for 2017-09-13

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Links for 2017-09-12

  • “You Can’t Stay Here: The Efficacy of Reddit’s 2015 Ban Examined Through Hate Speech”

    In 2015, Reddit closed several subreddits—foremost among them r/fatpeoplehate and r/CoonTown—due to violations of Reddit’s anti-harassment policy. However, the effectiveness of banning as a moderation approach remains unclear: banning might diminish hateful behavior, or it may relocate such behavior to different parts of the site. We study the ban of r/fatpeoplehate and r/CoonTown in terms of its effect on both participating users and affected subreddits. Working from over 100M Reddit posts and comments, we generate hate speech lexicons to examine variations in hate speech usage via causal inference methods. We find that the ban worked for Reddit. More accounts than expected discontinued using the site; those that stayed drastically decreased their hate speech usage—by at least 80%. Though many subreddits saw an influx of r/fatpeoplehate and r/CoonTown “migrants,” those subreddits saw no significant changes in hate speech usage. In other words, other subreddits did not inherit the problem. We conclude by reflecting on the apparent success of the ban, discussing implications for online moderation, Reddit and internet communities more broadly.
    (Via Anil Dash)

    (tags: abuse reddit research hate-speech community moderation racism internet)

  • The Immortal Myths About Online Abuse – Humane Tech – Medium

    After building online communities for two decades, we’ve learned how to fight abuse. It’s a solvable problem. We just have to stop repeating the same myths as excuses not to fix things.
    Here are the 8 myths Anil Dash picks out: 1. False: You can’t fix abusive behavior online. 2. False: Fighting abuse hurts free speech! 3. False: Software can detect abuse using simple rules. 4. False: Most people say “abuse” when they just mean criticism. 5. False: We just need everybody to use their “real” name. 6. False: Just charge a dollar to comment and that’ll fix things. 7. False: You can call the cops! If it’s not illegal, it’s not harmful. 8. False: Abuse can be fixed without dedicated resources.

    (tags: abuse comments community harassment racism reddit anil-dash free-speech)

  • ‘Let’s all survive the GDPR’

    Simon McGarr and John Looney’s slides from their SRECon ’17 presentation

    (tags: simon-mcgarr data-privacy privacy data-protection gdpr slides presentations)

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Links for 2017-09-11

  • The React license for founders and CTOs – James Ide – Medium

    Decent explanation of _why_ Facebook came up with the BSD+Patents license: “Facebook’s patent grant is about sharing its code while preserving its ability to defend itself against patent lawsuits.”

    The difficulty of open sourcing code at Facebook, including React in 2013, was one of the reasons the company’s open-source contributions used to be a fraction of what they are today. It didn’t use to have a strong reputation as an open-source contributor to front-end technologies. Facebook wanted to open source code, though; when it grew communities for projects like React, core contributors emerged to help out and interview candidates often cited React and other Facebook open source as one of the reasons they were interested in applying. People at Facebook wanted to make it easier to open source code and not worry as much about patents. Facebook’s solution was the Facebook BSD+Patents license.

    (tags: facebook bsd licenses licensing asf patents swpats react license software-patents open-source rocksdb)

  • HN thread on the new Network Load Balancer AWS product

    looks like @colmmacc works on it. Lots and lots of good details here

    (tags: nlb aws load-balancing ops architecture lbs tcp ip)

  • Java Flame Graphs Introduction: Fire For Everyone!

    lots of good detail on flame graph usage in Java, and the Honest Profiler (honest because it’s safepoint-free)

    (tags: profiling java safepoints jvm flame-graphs perf measurement benchmarking testing)

  • Teaching Students to Code – What Works

    Lynn Langit describing her work as part of Microsoft Digigirlz and TKP to teach thousands of kids worldwide to code. Describes a curriculum from “K” (4-6-year olds) learning computational thinking with a block-based programming environment like Scratch, up to University level, solving problems with public clouds like AWS’ free tier.

    (tags: education learning coding teaching tkp lynn-langit scratch kids)

  • So much for that Voynich manuscript “solution”

    boo.

    The idea that the book is a medical treatise on women’s health, however, might turn out to be correct. But that wasn’t Gibbs’ discovery. Many scholars and amateur sleuths had already reached that conclusion, using the same evidence that Gibbs did. Essentially, Gibbs rolled together a bunch of already-existing scholarship and did a highly speculative translation, without even consulting the librarians at the institute where the book resides. Gibbs said in the TLS article that he did his research for an unnamed “television network.” Given that Gibbs’ main claim to fame before this article was a series of books about how to write and sell television screenplays, it seems that his goal in this research was probably to sell a television screenplay of his own. In 2015, Gibbs did an interview where he said that in five years, “I would like to think I could have a returnable series up and running.” Considering the dubious accuracy of many History Channel “documentaries,” he might just get his wish.

    (tags: crypto history voynich-manuscript historians tls)

  • How to Optimize Garbage Collection in Go

    In this post, we’ll share a few powerful optimizations that mitigate many of the performance problems common to Go’s garbage collection (we will cover “fun with deadlocks” in a follow-up). In particular, we’ll share how embedding structs, using sync.Pool, and reusing backing arrays can minimize memory allocations and reduce garbage collection overhead.

    (tags: garbage performance gc golang go coding)

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Links for 2017-09-09

  • Firms involved in biometric database in India contracted by Irish government

    Two tech firms – one owned by businessman Dermot Desmond – involved in the creation of a controversial biometric database in India, are providing services for the Government’s public services card and passports. Known as the Aadhaar project, the Indian scheme is the world’s largest ever biometric database involving 1.2 billion citizens. Initially voluntary, it became mandatory for obtaining state services, for paying taxes and for opening a bank account. […] Dermot Casey, a former chief technology officer of Storyful, said that if the Daon system was used to store the data and carry out the facial matching then the Government “appears to have purchased a biometric database system which can be extended to include voice, fingerprint and iris identification at a moment’s notice”. Katherine O’Keefe, a data protection consultant with Castlebridge, said if the departments were using images of people’s faces to single out or identify an individual, they were “by legal definition processing biometric data”.

    (tags: biometrics databases aadhar id-cards ireland psc daon morpho)

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Links for 2017-09-08

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Links for 2017-08-30

  • Comment: ‘Mandatory but not compulsory’ – what exactly is the justification for the Public Services Card? – Independent.ie

    TJ McIntyre nails the problem here:

    ‘Mandatory but not compulsory”. This ill-judged hair-splitting seems likely to stick to Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty in the same way that “an Irish solution to an Irish problem” and “on mature recollection” did to politicians before her. The minister used that phrase to defend against the criticism that the public services card (PSC) is being rolled out as a national ID card by stealth, without any clear legal basis or public debate. She went on to say that the PSC is not compulsory as “nobody will drag you kicking and screaming to have a card”. This is correct, but irrelevant. The Government’s strategy is one of making the PSC effectively rather than legally compulsory – by cutting off benefits such as pensions and refusing driving licences and passports unless a person registers. Whether or not the PSC is required by law is immaterial if you cannot function in society without it.

    (tags: psc id-cards ireland social-welfare id privacy data-protection)

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Links for 2017-08-28

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Links for 2017-08-24

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Links for 2017-08-22

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Links for 2017-08-21

  • 48 Hours In Dublin

    good set of tourist tips for a foodie Dublin weekender

    (tags: dublin tourism food eating dining restaurants tips weekend)

  • Linux Load Averages: Solving the Mystery

    Nice bit of OS archaeology by Brendan Gregg.

    In 1993, a Linux engineer found a nonintuitive case with load averages, and with a three-line patch changed them forever from “CPU load averages” to what one might call “system load averages.” His change included tasks in the uninterruptible state, so that load averages reflected demand for disk resources and not just CPUs. These system load averages count the number of threads working and waiting to work, and are summarized as a triplet of exponentially-damped moving sum averages that use 1, 5, and 15 minutes as constants in an equation. This triplet of numbers lets you see if load is increasing or decreasing, and their greatest value may be for relative comparisons with themselves.

    (tags: load monitoring linux unix performance ops brendan-gregg history cpu)

  • Distilled Identity

    Gabriel recently bought a distillery in Barbados, where he says the majority of his team is of African descent. “The sugar industry is a painful past for them, but my understanding, from my team, is that they do see it as the past,” Gabriel explained. “There was great suffering, but their take is like, ‘We built this island.’ They are reclaiming it, and we are seeing that in efforts to preserve farming land and not let it all go to tourism.” I rather liked this narrative, or at least the potential of it. Slavery was appalling across the board, but countries and cultures throughout the African Diaspora have managed their paths forward in ways that don’t mimic the American aftermath. A plurality of narratives was possible here, which was thrilling to me. I am often disappointed by the mainstream perception of one-note blackness. One could easily argue the root of colonization is far from removed in the Caribbean. But if I understood Gabriel, and if he accurately captured the sentiments of his Barbadian colleagues, plantation sugarcane offered career opportunities to some, and was perhaps not solely a distressing connection to a shared global history. We chewed on this thought, together, in silence.

    (tags: history distilling rum barbados african-diaspora slavery american-history booze language etymology)

  • cristim/autospotting

    ‘Easy to use tool that automatically replaces some or even all on-demand AutoScaling group members with similar or larger identically configured spot instances in order to generate significant cost savings on AWS EC2, behaving much like an AutoScaling-backed spot fleet.’

    (tags: asg autoscaling ec2 aws spot-fleet spot-instances cost-saving scaling)

  • Going Multi-Cloud with AWS and GCP: Lessons Learned at Scale

    Metamarkets splits across AWS and GCP, going into heavy detail here

    (tags: aws gcp google ops hosting multi-cloud)

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Links for 2017-08-20

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Links for 2017-08-17

  • NASA’s Sound Suppression Water System

    If you’ve ever watched a rocket launch, you’ve probably noticed the billowing clouds around the launch pad during lift-off. What you’re seeing is not actually the rocket’s exhaust but the result of a launch pad and vehicle protection system known in NASA parlance as the Sound Suppression Water System. Exhaust gases from a rocket typically exit at a pressure higher than the ambient atmosphere, which generates shock waves and lots of turbulent mixing between the exhaust and the air. Put differently, launch ignition is incredibly loud, loud enough to cause structural damage to the launchpad and, via reflection, the vehicle and its contents. To mitigate this problem, launch operators use a massive water injection system that pours about 3.5 times as much water as rocket propellant per second. This significantly reduces the noise levels on the launchpad and vehicle and also helps protect the infrastructure from heat damage.

    (tags: water rockets launch nasa space sound-suppression sound science)

  • The White Lies of Craft Culture – Eater

    Besides field laborers, [Southern US] planter and urban communities both depended on proficient carpenters, blacksmiths, gardeners, stable hands, seamstresses, and cooks; the America of the 1700s and 1800s was literally crafted by people of color. Part of this hidden history includes the revelation that six slaves were critical to the operation of George Washington’s distillery, and that the eponymous Jack Daniel learned to make whiskey from an enslaved black man named Nathan “Nearest” Green. As Clay Risen reported for the New York Times last year, contrary to the predominant narrative that views whiskey as an ever “lily-white affair,” black men were the minds and hands behind American whiskey production. “In the same way that white cookbook authors often appropriated recipes from their black cooks, white distillery owners took credit for the whiskey,” he writes. Described as “the best whiskey maker that I know of” by his master, Dan Call, Green taught young Jack Daniel how to run a whiskey still. When Daniel later opened his own distillery, he hired two of Green’s sons. The popular image of moonshine is a product of the white cultural monopoly on all things ‘country’ Over time, that legacy was forgotten, creating a gap in knowledge about American distilling traditions — while English, German, Scottish, and Irish influences exist, that combination alone cannot explain the entirely of American distilling. As bourbon historian Michael Veach suggests, slave culture pieces together an otherwise puzzling intellectual history.

    (tags: history craft-beer craft-culture food drink whiskey distilling black-history jack-daniels nathan-nearest-green)

  • Meet the Espresso Tonic, Iced Coffee’s Bubbly New Cousin

    Bit late on this one but YUM

    To make the drink, Box Kite baristas simply load a glass with ice, fill it about three quarters of the way with chilled tonic, and then top it off with an espresso shot — typically from roasters like Madcap (MI) and Ritual (SF). Often, baristas pull the espresso shot directly on top of the tonic and ice mixture, forgoing the process of first pulling it into a cup and then pouring the espresso from cup to glass.

    (tags: tonic-water recipes espresso coffee drinks cocktails)

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Links for 2017-08-16

  • Fsq.io

    Foursquare’s open source repo, where they extract reusable components for open sourcing — I like the approach of using a separate top level module path for OSS bits

    (tags: open-source oss foursquare libraries maintainance coding git monorepos)

  • GTK+ switches build from Autotools to Meson

    ‘The main change is that now GTK+ takes about ? of the time to build compared to the Autotools build, with likely bigger wins on older/less powerful hardware; the Visual Studio support on Windows should be at least a couple of orders of magnitude easier (shout out to Fan Chun-wei for having spent so, so many hours ensuring that we could even build on Windows with Visual Studio and MSVC); and maintaining the build system should be equally easier for everyone on any platform we currently support.’ Looking at http://mesonbuild.com/ it appears to be Python-based and AL2-licensed open source. On the downside, though, the Meson file is basically a Python script, which is something I’m really not fond of :( more details at http://taint.org/2011/02/18/001527a.html .

    (tags: meson build coding dev autotools gtk+ python)

  • Matt Haughey ???????? on Twitter: “high quality LED light tape for bikes and wheels is ridiculously cheap these days”

    good thread on fitting out a bike with crazy LED light tape; see also EL string. Apparently it’ll run off a 4.5V (3xAAA) battery pack nowadays which makes it pretty viable!

    (tags: bikes cycling safety led-lights el-tape led-tape hacks via:mathowie)

  • M00N

    a beautifully-glitched photo of the moon by Giacomo Carmagnola; more on his art at http://www.bleaq.com/2015/giacomo-carmagnola . (Via Archillect)

    (tags: via:archillect art giacomo-carmagnola glitch-art moon glitch images)

  • How to shop on AliExpress

    From the aptly-named Aliholic.com. Thanks, Elliot — the last thing I needed was something to feed my addiction to cheap tat from China!

    (tags: china aliexpress dealextreme gearbest gadgets buying tat aliholic stuff)

  • TIL you shouldn’t use conditioner if you get nuked

    If you shower carefully with soap and shampoo, Karam says [Andrew Karam, radiation expert], the radioactive dust should wash right out. But hair conditioner has particular compounds called cationic surfactants and polymers. If radioactive particles have drifted underneath damaged scales of hair protein, these compounds can pull those scales down to create a smooth strand of hair. “That can trap particles of contamination inside of the scale,” Karam says. These conditioner compounds are also oily and have a positive charge on one end that will make them stick to negatively charged sections of a strand of hair, says Perry Romanowski, a cosmetics chemist who has developed personal hygiene formulas and now hosts “The Beauty Brains” podcast on cosmetics chemistry. “Unlike shampoo, conditioners are meant to stay behind on your hair,” Romanowski says. If the conditioner comes into contact with radioactive material, these sticky, oily compounds can gum radioactive dust into your hair, he says.

    (tags: factoids conditioner surfactants nuclear-bombs fallout hair bizarre til via:boingboing)

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Links for 2017-08-15

  • Allen curve – Wikipedia

    During the late 1970s, [Professor Thomas J.] Allen undertook a project to determine how the distance between engineers’ offices affects the frequency of technical communication between them. The result of that research, produced what is now known as the Allen Curve, revealed that there is a strong negative correlation between physical distance and the frequency of communication between work stations. The finding also revealed the critical distance of 50 meters for weekly technical communication. With the fast advancement of internet and sharp drop of telecommunication cost, some wonder the observation of Allen Curve in today’s corporate environment. In his recently co-authored book, Allen examined this question and the same still holds true. He says[2] “For example, rather than finding that the probability of telephone communication increases with distance, as face-to-face probability decays, our data show a decay in the use of all communication media with distance (following a “near-field” rise).” [p. 58]
    Apparently a few years back in Google, some staff mined the promotion data, and were able to show a Allen-like curve that proved a strong correlation between distance from Jeff Dean’s desk, and time to getting promoted.

    (tags: jeff-dean google history allen-curve work communication distance offices workplace teleworking remote-work)

  • Arq Backs Up To B2!

    Arq backup for OSX now supports B2 (as well as S3) as a storage backend. “it’s a super-cheap option ($.005/GB per month) for storing your backups.” (that is less than half the price of $0.0125/GB for S3’s Infrequent Access class)

    (tags: s3 storage b2 backblaze backups arq macosx ops)

  • After Charlottesville, I Asked My Dad About Selma

    Dad told me that he didn’t think I was going to have to go through what he went through, but now he can see that he was wrong. “This fight is a never-ending fight,” he said. “There’s no end to it. I think after the ‘60s, the whole black revolution, Martin Luther King, H. Rap Brown, Stokely Carmichael and all the rest of the people, after that happened, people went to sleep,” he said. “They thought, ‘this is over.’”

    (tags: selma charlottesville racism nazis america race history civil-rights 1960s)

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