Links for 2017-02-27

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Links for 2017-02-24

  • Cloudflare Reverse Proxies are Dumping Uninitialized Memory

    This is a massive bug. C considered harmful! See also jgc’s blog post:

    (tags: internet security cloudflare caching coding buffer-overflows c data-leak leaks)

  • In 1914, Feminists Fought For the Right to Forget Childbirth | Atlas Obscura

    Wow, this is creepy.

    Tracy and Leupp described twilight sleep as “a very fine balance in the states of consciousness,” which required “special knowledge of the use of drugs that cause it.” Once a woman had gone into labor, she was given a combination of morphine to dull the pain and scopolamine to dull her memory of the experience. (Today, scopolamine is sometimes called the “zombie drug” because its users become susceptible to suggestion but retain no memory of their actions.) These drugs had been used in the past as anesthetics, but few doctors had adopted them with enthusiasm. But the German clinic, the McClure’s article reported, had reached a technical breakthrough with scopolamine, which allowed the doctors to administer it with more precision and therefore with more success. Women who they treated with these drugs would retain muscle control and would follow orders from doctors, but would remember none of it. There were some strange conditions that went along with the use of these drugs. Because the women’s state of suspension was precarious, women in twilight sleep were kept in padded, crib-like beds, with eye masks blocking out the light and cotton balls in their ears blocking out sound. Sometimes they were fitted into straight-jacket-like shirts that limited the movement of their arms. When the birth was over, women also often experienced a moment of dissociation, as Carmody did: Had they really had a baby? Was the baby they’d been handed really theirs?

    (tags: twilight-sleep childbirth history freiburg morphine scopolamine anaesthesia birth)

  • At the cost of security everywhere, Google dorking is still a thing | Ars Technica

    I’d never heard of this term!

    (tags: dorking google security searching web)

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Links for 2017-02-23

  • Maniac Killers of the Bangalore IT Department

    On “techies” and their tenuous relationship with Indian society:

    Technology was supposed to deliver India from poverty, but in Bangalore it’s also deepened the division between rich and poor, young and old, modern and traditional. As the city has grown richer, it’s also become unruly and unfamiliar. If the tech worker is the star of the Indian economy, then the techie is his shadow— spoiled, untrustworthy, adulterous, depressed, and sometimes just plain senseless. (“TECHIE WITH EARPHONES RUN OVER BY TRAIN.”) In one occupational boogeyman, Bangaloreans can see their future and their fears. [….] “TECHIE’S WIFE MURDERED” read the headlines in both the Hindu and the Bangalore Mirror. “TECHIE STABS FRIEND’S WIFE TO DEATH” ran in the Deccan Herald. To read the Indian newspapers regularly is to believe the software engineer is the country’s most cursed figure. Almost every edition carries a gruesome story involving a techie accused of homicide, rape, burglary, blackmail, assault, injury, suicide, or another crime. When techies are the victims, it’s just as newsworthy. The Times of India, the country’s largest English-language paper, has carried “TECHIE DIES IN FREAK ACCIDENT” and “MAN HELD FOR PUSHING TECHIE FROM TRAIN”; in the Hindu, readers found “TEACHER CHOPS OFF FINGERS OF TECHIE HUSBAND” and “TECHIE DIED AFTER BEING FORCE-FED CYANIDE.” A long-standing journalistic adage says, “If it bleeds, it leads.” In India, if it codes, it explodes.

    (tags: crime tech india bangalore pune society techies work jobs)

  • Why Aren’t Baby Boomers Eating Pho? – Medium

    ‘Their decidedly un-hygge reluctance to partake in comforting, clear-brothed Vietnamese soups most likely stems from the generation’s reckless spending habits?—?many bought homes in their early 20’s. Some even claim they have owned upwards of seven cars over the course of their lifetimes. Unbelievably, many have never ridden a bicycle post-childhood.’

    (tags: boomers funny jokes pho soup news lifestyle age)

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Links for 2017-02-21

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Links for 2017-02-20

  • 10 Most Common Reasons Kubernetes Deployments Fail

    some real-world failure cases and how to fix them

    (tags: kubernetes docker ops)

  • How-to Debug a Running Docker Container from a Separate Container

    arguably this shouldn’t be required — building containers without /bin/sh, strace, gdb etc. is just silly

    (tags: strace docker ops debugging containers)

  • 4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump

    This is the best article on chan culture and how it’s taken over

    (tags: 4chan 8chan somethingawful boards history internet trump alt-right)

  • pachyderm

    ‘Containerized Data Analytics’:

    There are two bold new ideas in Pachyderm: Containers as the core processing primitive Version Control for data These ideas lead directly to a system that’s much more powerful, flexible and easy to use. To process data, you simply create a containerized program which reads and writes to the local filesystem. You can use any tools you want because it’s all just going in a container! Pachyderm will take your container and inject data into it. We’ll then automatically replicate your container, showing each copy a different chunk of data. With this technique, Pachyderm can scale any code you write to process up to petabytes of data (Example: distributed grep). Pachyderm also version controls all data using a commit-based distributed filesystem (PFS), similar to what git does with code. Version control for data has far reaching consequences in a distributed filesystem. You get the full history of your data, can track changes and diffs, collaborate with teammates, and if anything goes wrong you can revert the entire cluster with one click! Version control is also very synergistic with our containerized processing engine. Pachyderm understands how your data changes and thus, as new data is ingested, can run your workload on the diff of the data rather than the whole thing. This means that there’s no difference between a batched job and a streaming job, the same code will work for both!

    (tags: analytics data containers golang pachyderm tools data-science docker version-control)

  • How Space Weather Can Influence Elections on Earth – Motherboard

    oh, god — I’m not keen on this take: how’s about designing systems that recognise the risks?

    “Everything was going fine, but then suddenly, there were an additional 4,000 votes cast. Because it was a local election, which are normally very small, people were surprised and asked, ‘how did this happen?'” The culprit was not voter fraud or hacked machines. It was a single event upset (SEU), a term describing the fallout of an ionizing particle bouncing off a vulnerable node in the machine’s register, causing it to flip a bit, and log the additional votes. The Sun may not have been the direct source of the particle—cosmic rays from outside the solar system are also in the mix—but solar-influenced space weather certainly contributes to these SEUs.

    (tags: bit-flips science elections voting-machines vvat belgium bugs risks cosmic-rays)

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Links for 2017-02-19

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Links for 2017-02-17

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Links for 2017-02-14

  • Riot Games Seek Court Justice After Internet Provider Deliberately Causes In-Game Lag

    Pretty damning for Time-Warner Cable:

    When it seemed that the service provider couldn’t sink any lower, they opted to hold Riot to a ‘lag ransom’. Following Riot’s complaints regarding the inexplicable lag the player base were experiencing, TWC offered to magically solve the issue, a hardball tactic to which Riot finally admitted defeat in August of 2015. Before the deal was finalised, lag and data-packet loss for League of Legends players were far above the standards Riot was aiming for. Miraculously, after the two tech companies reached an unpleasant deal, the numbers improved.

    (tags: ftc fcc twc time-warner cable isps network-neutrality league-of-legends internet)

  • Instapaper Outage Cause & Recovery

    Hard to see this as anything other than a pretty awful documentation fail by the AWS RDS service:

    Without knowledge of the pre-April 2014 file size limit, it was difficult to foresee and prevent this issue. As far as we can tell, there’s no information in the RDS console in the form of monitoring, alerts or logging that would have let us know we were approaching the 2TB file size limit, or that we were subject to it in the first place. Even now, there’s nothing to indicate that our hosted database has a critical issue.

    (tags: limits aws rds databases mysql filesystems ops instapaper risks)

  • ‘Software Engineering at Google’

    20 pages of Google’s software dev practices, with emphasis on the build system (since it was written by the guy behind Blaze). Naturally, some don’t make a whole lot of sense outside of Google, but still some good stuff here

    (tags: development engineering google papers software coding best-practices)

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Links for 2017-02-13

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Links for 2017-02-10

  • Why Shopify Payments prohibit sexual content

    Interesting background info from a twitter thread:

    @jennschiffer Breitbart uses Shopify Payments, which is built on top of Stripe, which is sponsored by Wells Fargo merchant services AFAIK. WF has underwriting rules that prohibit sexual content. The main reasons aren’t b/c WF or Stripe are interested in policing morals. Historically there’s a higher rate of chargebacks from porn sites, which is why banks are generally anti-sexual content. Imagine someone’s partner finds a charge for pornhub on their credit cars and calls them out on it. The person will deny and file a CB. Once porn sites started getting shut down by banks, they would change their names or submit applications claiming to be fetish sites, etc So underwriting dept’s decided the risk is too high and generally defer to no with anything sexual. Most processors aren’t inclined to challenge this position on moral grounds since there’s strong precedent against it… …and it could jeapordize their entire payments system if they get shut off. There are exceptions of course and there are other prohibited uses that are allowed to continue.

    (tags: twitter porn shopify sex chargebacks payment)

  • Comparing Amazon Elastic Container Service and Google Kubernetes – Medium

    nice intro to Kubernetes and container orchestration

    (tags: kubernetes containers docker ops)

  • Minor Infractions — Real Life

    When our son turned 12, we gave him a phone and allowed him to use social media, with a condition: He had no right to privacy. We would periodically and without warning read his texts and go through his messenger app. We would follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (though we wouldn’t comment or tag him — we’re not monsters). We wouldn’t ambush him about what we read and we wouldn’t attempt to embarrass him. Anything that wasn’t dangerous or illegal, we would ignore.
    Food for thought. But not yet!

    (tags: surveillance family kids privacy online social-media teenagers)

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Links for 2017-02-09

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Links for 2017-02-08

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Links for 2017-02-07

  • What Vizio was doing behind the TV screen | Federal Trade Commission

    This is awful:

    Starting in 2014, Vizio made TVs that automatically tracked what consumers were watching and transmitted that data back to its servers. Vizio even retrofitted older models by installing its tracking software remotely. All of this, the FTC and AG allege, was done without clearly telling consumers or getting their consent. What did Vizio know about what was going on in the privacy of consumers’ homes? On a second-by-second basis, Vizio collected a selection of pixels on the screen that it matched to a database of TV, movie, and commercial content. What’s more, Vizio identified viewing data from cable or broadband service providers, set-top boxes, streaming devices, DVD players, and over-the-air broadcasts. Add it all up and Vizio captured as many as 100 billion data points each day from millions of TVs. Vizio then turned that mountain of data into cash by selling consumers’ viewing histories to advertisers and others. And let’s be clear: We’re not talking about summary information about national viewing trends. According to the complaint, Vizio got personal. The company provided consumers’ IP addresses to data aggregators, who then matched the address with an individual consumer or household. Vizio’s contracts with third parties prohibited the re-identification of consumers and households by name, but allowed a host of other personal details – for example, sex, age, income, marital status, household size, education, and home ownership.  And Vizio permitted these companies to track and target its consumers across devices. That’s what Vizio was up to behind the screen, but what was the company telling consumers? Not much, according to the complaint. Vizio put its tracking functionality behind a setting called “Smart Interactivity.”  But the FTC and New Jersey AG say that the generic way the company described that feature – for example, “enables program offers and suggestions” – didn’t give consumers the necessary heads-up to know that Vizio was tracking their TV’s every flicker. (Oh, and the “Smart Interactivity” feature didn’t even provide the promised “program offers and suggestions.”)

    (tags: privacy ftc surveillance tv vizio ads advertising smart-tvs)

  • Inuit Cartography

    In Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland), the Inuit people are known for carving portable maps out of driftwood to be used while navigating coastal waters. These pieces, which are small enough to be carried in a mitten, represent coastlines in a continuous line, up one side of the wood and down the other. The maps are compact, buoyant, and can be read in the dark.

    (tags: maps inuit history sailing navigation coastlines greenland)

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Links for 2017-02-06

  • Trump and Staff Rethink Tactics After Stumbles – The New York Times

    This sounds more like a medieval court than a modern democracy. Also this incredible gem:

    Mr. Bannon remains the president’s dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump’s anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed giving his chief strategist a seat on the National Security Council, a greater source of frustration to the president than the fallout from the travel ban.

    (tags: stephen-bannon trump us-politics nsc)

  • Beringei: A high-performance time series storage engine | Engineering Blog | Facebook Code

    Beringei is different from other in-memory systems, such as memcache, because it has been optimized for storing time series data used specifically for health and performance monitoring. We designed Beringei to have a very high write rate and a low read latency, while being as efficient as possible in using RAM to store the time series data. In the end, we created a system that can store all the performance and monitoring data generated at Facebook for the most recent 24 hours, allowing for extremely fast exploration and debugging of systems and services as we encounter issues in production. Data compression was necessary to help reduce storage overhead. We considered several existing compression schemes and rejected the techniques that applied only to integer data, used approximation techniques, or needed to operate on the entire dataset. Beringei uses a lossless streaming compression algorithm to compress points within a time series with no additional compression used across time series. Each data point is a pair of 64-bit values representing the timestamp and value of the counter at that time. Timestamps and values are compressed separately using information about previous values. Timestamp compression uses a delta-of-delta encoding, so regular time series use very little memory to store timestamps. From analyzing the data stored in our performance monitoring system, we discovered that the value in most time series does not change significantly when compared to its neighboring data points. Further, many data sources only store integers (despite the system supporting floating point values). Knowing this, we were able to tune previous academic work to be easier to compute by comparing the current value with the previous value using XOR, and storing the changed bits. Ultimately, this algorithm resulted in compressing the entire data set by at least 90 percent.

    (tags: beringei compression facebook monitoring tsd time-series storage architecture)

  • St. Petersburg team operated a PRNG hack against Vegas slots

    According to Willy Allison, a Las Vegas–based casino security consultant who has been tracking the Russian scam for years, the operatives use their phones to record about two dozen spins on a game they aim to cheat. They upload that footage to a technical staff in St. Petersburg, who analyze the video and calculate the machine’s pattern based on what they know about the model’s pseudorandom number generator. Finally, the St. Petersburg team transmits a list of timing markers to a custom app on the operative’s phone; those markers cause the handset to vibrate roughly 0.25 seconds before the operative should press the spin button. “The normal reaction time for a human is about a quarter of a second, which is why they do that,” says Allison, who is also the founder of the annual World Game Protection Conference. The timed spins are not always successful, but they result in far more payouts than a machine normally awards: Individual scammers typically win more than $10,000 per day. (Allison notes that those operatives try to keep their winnings on each machine to less than $1,000, to avoid arousing suspicion.) A four-person team working multiple casinos can earn upwards of $250,000 in a single week.

    (tags: prng hacking security exploits randomness gambling las-vegas casinos slot-machines)

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Links for 2017-02-05

  • Data from pacemaker used to arrest man for arson, insurance fraud

    Compton has medical conditions which include an artificial heart linked to an external pump. According to court documents, a cardiologist said that “it is highly improbable Mr. Compton would have been able to collect, pack and remove the number of items from the house, exit his bedroom window and carry numerous large and heavy items to the front of his residence during the short period of time he has indicated due to his medical conditions.” After US law enforcement caught wind of this peculiar element to the story, police were able to secure a search warrant and collect the pacemaker’s electronic records to scrutinize his heart rate, the demand on the pacemaker and heart rhythms prior to and at the time of the incident.

    (tags: pacemakers health medicine privacy data arson insurance fraud heart)

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Links for 2017-02-04

  • if you aren’t safe, we’ll make noise for you

    a Dead Man’s Switch for border crossings; if you are detained and cannot make a “checkin”, it’ll make noise on your behalf so your friends and family know what’s happened

    (tags: safety borders dead-mans-switch landsafe tools)

  • “what’s the inside story on these young fascist nazis”

    Excellent explanatory twitter thread explaining where this movement came from (ie chan sites):

    “what’s the inside story on these young fascist nazis” a lot of them ended up in shock humor/lonely dude forums that nazi recruiters joined. this isn’t a fucking puzzle box, we have all the history right here. dudes ended up on various sites crossing nerdy hobbies & resentment. a buncha fucking nerds had their various dipshit teenage beefs, many starting with resentment of women, and got radicalized. “how did they end up nazis?” a bunch of real nazis whispered poison in their ears while becoming their only community, their only “friends”. they also used multiple levels of irony to make bigotry and fascism more acceptable by drowning it in “oh we’re just joking”

    (tags: nazis fascism 4chan 8chan extremism politics)

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Links for 2017-02-03

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Links for 2017-02-01

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Links for 2017-01-31

  • Supporting our Muslim sisters and brothers in tech – Inside Intercom

    This is simply amazing:

    Intercom is a dual-citizen company of a sort. We’ve had two offices from day zero. I moved to San Francisco from Ireland in 2011 and now hold a green card and live here. I set up our headquarters here, which contains all of our business functions. My cofounders set up our Dublin office, where our research and development teams are based. And we have over 150 people in each office now. We’d like to use this special position we’re in to try help anyone in our industry feeling unsafe and hurt right now. If you’re in tech, and you’re from one of the newly unfavored countries, or even if you’re not, but you’re feeling persecuted for being Muslim, we’d like to help you consider Dublin as a place to live and work. [….] – If you decide you want to look into moving seriously, we’ll retain our Dublin immigration attorneys for you, and pay your legal bills with them, up to €5k. We’ll do this for as many as we can afford. We should be able to do this for at least 50 people.

    (tags: intercom muslim us-politics immigration dublin ireland)

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Links for 2017-01-30

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Links for 2017-01-27

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Links for 2017-01-26

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Links for 2017-01-25

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Links for 2017-01-24

  • Sankey diagram – Wikipedia

    ‘a specific type of flow diagram, in which the width of the arrows is shown proportionally to the flow quantity. Sankey diagrams put a visual emphasis on the major transfers or flows within a system. They are helpful in locating dominant contributions to an overall flow. Often, Sankey diagrams show conserved quantities within defined system boundaries. [….] One of the most famous Sankey diagrams is Charles Minard’s Map of Napoleon’s Russian Campaign of 1812. It is a flow map, overlaying a Sankey diagram onto a geographical map.’

    (tags: sankey diagrams dataviz data viz)

  • Toyota’s Gill Pratt: “No one is close to achieving true level 5 [self-driving cars]”

    The most important thing to understand is that not all miles are the same. Most miles that we drive are very easy, and we can drive them while daydreaming or thinking about something else or having a conversation. But some miles are really, really hard, and so it’s those difficult miles that we should be looking at: How often do those show up, and can you ensure on a given route that the car will actually be able to handle the whole route without any problem at all? Level 5 autonomy says all miles will be handled by the car in an autonomous mode without any need for human intervention at all, ever. So if we’re talking to a company that says, “We can do full autonomy in this pre-mapped area and we’ve mapped almost every area,” that’s not Level 5. That’s Level 4. And I wouldn’t even stop there: I would ask, “Is that at all times of the day, is it in all weather, is it in all traffic?” And then what you’ll usually find is a little bit of hedging on that too. The trouble with this Level 4 thing, or the “full autonomy” phrase, is that it covers a very wide spectrum of possible competencies. It covers “my car can run fully autonomously in a dedicated lane that has no other traffic,” which isn’t very different from a train on a set of rails, to “I can drive in Rome in the middle of the worst traffic they ever have there, while it’s raining,” which is quite hard. Because the “full autonomy” phrase can mean such a wide range of things, you really have to ask the question, “What do you really mean, what are the actual circumstances?” And usually you’ll find that it’s geofenced for area, it may be restricted by how much traffic it can handle, for the weather, the time of day, things like that. So that’s the elaboration of why we’re not even close.

    (tags: autonomy driving self-driving cars ai robots toyota weather)

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Links for 2017-01-18

  • NetGuard

    Excellent network monitor app for Android, comes recommended by @redacted in the ITC Slack. Inserts itself as a VPN to capture traffic, and looks like it should work well. Supports ad blocking using a hosts file.

    (tags: android ad-blocking ads netguard apps)

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Links for 2017-01-17

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Links for 2017-01-13

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Links for 2017-01-12

  • Facebook is censoring posts in Thailand that the government has deemed unsuitable | TechCrunch

    Dictator-friendly censorship tools? no probs!

    (tags: facebook censorship royalty thailand politics)

  • Who killed the curry house? | Bee Wilson | Life and style | The Guardian

    This is fascinating, re “authenticity” of food:

    The objection that curry house food was inauthentic was true, but also unfair. It’s worth asking what “authenticity” really means in this context, given that people in India – like humans everywhere – do not themselves eat a perfectly “authentic” diet. When I asked dozens of people, while on a recent visit to India, about their favourite comfort food, most of them – whether from Delhi, Bangalore or Mumbai – told me that what they really loved to eat, especially when drinking beer, was something called Indian-Chinese food. It is nothing a Chinese person would recognise, consisting of gloopy dishes of meat and noodles, thick with cornflour and soy sauce, but spiced with green chillis and vinegar to please the national palate. Indian-Chinese food – just like British curry house food – offers a salty night away from the usual home cooking. The difference is that Indian people accept Indian-Chinese food for the ersatz joy that it is, whereas many British curry house customers seem to have believed that recipe for their Bombay potatoes really did come from Bombay, and felt affronted to discover that it did not.

    (tags: curry indian-food food chinese-food indian-chinese-food authenticity)

  • Banks biased against black fraud victims

    We raised the issue of discrimination in 2011 with one of the banks and with the Commission for Racial Equality, but as no-one was keeping records, nothing could be proved, until today. How can this discrimination happen? Well, UK rules give banks a lot of discretion to decide whether to refund a victim, and the first responders often don’t know the full story. If your HSBC card was compromised by a skimmer on a Tesco ATM, there’s no guarantee that Tesco will have told anyone (unlike in America, where the law forces Tesco to tell you). And the fraud pattern might be something entirely new. So bank staff end up making judgement calls like “Is this customer telling the truth?” and “How much is their business worth to us?” This in turn sets the stage for biases and prejudices to kick in, however subconsciously. Add management pressure to cut costs, sometimes even bonuses for cutting them, and here we are.

    (tags: discrimination racism fraud uk banking skimming security fca)

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Links for 2017-01-11

  • How a Machine Learns Prejudice – Scientific American

    Agreed, this is a big issue.

    If artificial intelligence takes over our lives, it probably won’t involve humans battling an army of robots that relentlessly apply Spock-like logic as they physically enslave us. Instead, the machine-learning algorithms that already let AI programs recommend a movie you’d like or recognize your friend’s face in a photo will likely be the same ones that one day deny you a loan, lead the police to your neighborhood or tell your doctor you need to go on a diet. And since humans create these algorithms, they’re just as prone to biases that could lead to bad decisions—and worse outcomes. These biases create some immediate concerns about our increasing reliance on artificially intelligent technology, as any AI system designed by humans to be absolutely “neutral” could still reinforce humans’ prejudicial thinking instead of seeing through it.

    (tags: prejudice bias machine-learning ml data training race racism google facebook)

  • Falsehoods Programmers Believe About CSVs

    Much of my professional work for the last 10+ years has revolved around handing, importing and exporting CSV files. CSV files are frustratingly misunderstood, abused, and most of all underspecified. While RFC4180 exists, it is far from definitive and goes largely ignored. Partially as a companion piece to my recent post about how CSV is an encoding nightmare, and partially an expression of frustration, I’ve decided to make a list of falsehoods programmers believe about CSVs. I recommend my previous post for a more in-depth coverage on the pains of CSVs encodings and how the default tooling (Excel) will ruin your day.
    (via Tony Finch)

    (tags: via:fanf csv excel programming coding apis data encoding transfer falsehoods fail rfc4180)

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Links for 2017-01-10

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Links for 2017-01-09

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Links for 2017-01-08

  • PagerDuty Incident Response Documentation

    This documentation covers parts of the PagerDuty Incident Response process. It is a cut-down version of our internal documentation, used at PagerDuty for any major incidents, and to prepare new employees for on-call responsibilities. It provides information not only on preparing for an incident, but also what to do during and after. It is intended to be used by on-call practitioners and those involved in an operational incident response process (or those wishing to enact a formal incident response process).
    This is a really good set of processes — quite similar to what we used in Amazon for high-severity outage response.

    (tags: ops process outages pagerduty incident-response incidents on-call)

  • The Irish Ether Drinking Craze

    Dr. Kelly, desperate to become intoxicated while maintaining The Pledge, realized that not only could ether vapors be inhaled, but liquid ether could be swallowed. Around 1845 he began consuming tiny glasses of ether, and then started dispensing these to his patients and friends as a nonalcoholic libation. It wasn’t long before it became a popular beverage, with one priest going so far as to declare that ether was “a liquor on which a man could get drunk with a clean conscience.” In some respects ingesting ether is less damaging to the system than severe alcohol intoxication. Its volatility – ether is a liquid at room temperature but a gas at body temperature -dramatically speeds its effects. Dr. Ernest Hart wrote that “the immediate effects of drinking ether are similar to those produced by alcohol, but everything takes place more rapidly; the stages of excitement, mental confusion, loss of muscular control, and loss of consciousness follow each other so quickly that they cannot be clearly separated.” Recovery is similarly rapid. Not only were ether drunks who were picked up by the police on the street often completely sober by the time they reached the station, but they suffered no hangovers. Ether drinking spread rapidly throughout Ireland, particularly in the North, and the substance soon could be purchased from grocers, druggists, publicans, and even traveling salesmen. Because ether was produced in bulk for certain industrial uses, it could also be obtained quite inexpensively. Its low price and rapid action meant than even the poorest could afford to get drunk several times a day on it. By the 1880s ether, distilled in England or Scotland, was being imported and widely distributed to even the smallest villages. Many Irish market towns would “reek of the mawkish fumes of the drug” on fair days when “its odor seems to cling to the very hedges and houses for some time.”

    (tags: ether history ireland northern-ireland ulster drugs bizarre)

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Links for 2017-01-07

  • Hacking the Attention Economy

    Can’t help feeling danah boyd is hitting the nail on the head here:

    The Internet has long been used for gaslighting, and trolls have long targeted adversaries. What has shifted recently is the scale of the operation, the coordination of the attacks, and the strategic agenda of some of the players. For many who are learning these techniques, it’s no longer simply about fun, nor is it even about the lulz. It has now become about acquiring power. A new form of information manipulation is unfolding in front of our eyes. It is political. It is global. And it is populist in nature. The news media is being played like a fiddle, while decentralized networks of people are leveraging the ever-evolving networked tools around them to hack the attention economy.

    (tags: danah-boyd news facebook social-media gaslighting trolls 4chan lulz gamergate fake-news)

  • World’s top 100 cocktails of 2016

    per Difford’s Guide — Amaretto Sour, Margarita, Bramble, Espresso Martini, Old-Fashioned, Negroni, White Lady and Manhattan up there.

    (tags: cocktails diffords 2016 review booze drinks)

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Links for 2017-01-04

  • Raising the Roof: Comments on the recent Newgrange ‘roof-box’ controversy

    Instead of discussing recent site visits or photographs we’ll be looking at a recent controversy sparked by comments about the reconstruction of Newgrange and, in particular, three claims made in the media by an Irish archaeologist; 1. That the “roof-box” at Newgrange may not be an original feature, instead it was “fabricated” and has “not a shred of authenticity” 2. That two vitally important structural stones, both decorated with megalithic art, from Newgrange were lost after the excavation and 3. That the photographic evidence that backs up the existing restoration is either inaccessible or never existed at all. I hope to show why we can be sure none of these claims are sustainable and that in fact the winter solstice phenomenon at Newgrange is an original and central feature of the tomb.

    (tags: history newgrange archaeology solstice ireland megalithic)

  • Leap Smear  |  Public NTP  |  Google Developers

    Google offers public NTP service with leap smearing — I didn’t realise! (thanks Keith)

    (tags: google clocks time ntp leap-smearing leap-second ops)

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Links for 2017-01-03

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Links for 2016-12-23

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Links for 2016-12-16

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Links for 2016-12-15

  • The hidden cost of QUIC and TOU

    The recent movement to get all traffic encrypted has of course been great for the Internet. But the use of encryption in these protocols is different than in TLS. In TLS, the goal was to ensure the privacy and integrity of the payload. It’s almost axiomatic that third parties should not be able to read or modify the web page you’re loading over HTTPS. QUIC and TOU go further. They encrypt the control information, not just the payload. This provides no meaningful privacy or security benefits. Instead the apparent goal is to break the back of middleboxes [0]. The idea is that TCP can’t evolve due to middleboxes and is pretty much fully ossified. They interfere with connections in all kinds of ways, like stripping away unknown TCP options or dropping packets with unknown TCP options or with specific rare TCP flags set. The possibilities for breakage are endless, and any protocol extensions have to jump through a lot of hoops to try to minimize the damage.

    (tags: quic tou protocols http tls security internet crypto privacy firewalls debugging operability)

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