Links for 2017-12-11

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Links for 2017-12-06

  • In first, 3-D printed objects connect to WiFi without electronics

    This. is. magic.

    Physical motion—pushing a button, laundry soap flowing out of a bottle, turning a knob, removing a hammer from a weighted tool bench—triggers gears and springs elsewhere in the 3-D printed object that cause a conductive switch to intermittently connect or disconnect with the antenna and change its reflective state. Information—in the form of 1s and 0s—is encoded by the presence or absence of the tooth on a gear. Energy from a coiled spring drives the gear system, and the width and pattern of gear teeth control how long the backscatter switch makes contact with the antenna, creating patterns of reflected signals that can be decoded by a WiFi receiver.

    (tags: magic wifi whoa 3d-printing objects plastic gears springs)

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Links for 2017-12-05

  • AMERICAN AIRLINES 737MAX8: “LIKE A FLYING PRISON”

    Quite unusual to see an honest review of travelling coach-class on an internal US flight. This is a massive stinker: “I admit American isn’t my favourite airline, but this has made me seriously re-evaluate ever travelling on them again. And it won’t be economy. If this is Americans idea of their future standards, they can keep it. Aviation enthusiasts might find it really interesting- I felt like I was in a flying prison”.

    (tags: coach travel aa airlines 737 boeing reviews comfort)

  • Using AWS Batch to Generate Mapzen Terrain Tiles · Mapzen

    Using this setup on AWS Batch, we are able to generate more than 3.75 million tiles per minute and render the entire world in less than a week! These pre-rendered tiles get stored in S3 and are ready to use by anyone through the AWS Public Dataset or through Mapzen’s Terrain Tiles API.

    (tags: mapzen mapping tiles batch aws s3 lambda docker)

  • Theresa May’s Blue Monday — Fintan O’Toole

    Having backed down, May was then peremptorily informed that she was not even allowed to back down. She left her lunch with the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, to take a phone call from the DUP’s Arlene Foster, who told her that the deal she had just made was unacceptable. May then had to go back in and tell Juncker that she could not agree to what she had just agreed to. It is a scarcely credible position for a once great state to find itself in: its leader does not even have the power to conduct a dignified retreat.

    (tags: eu ireland brexit uk theresa-may dup politics ec fintan-otoole)

  • Handling GDPR: How to make Kafka Forget

    How do you delete (or redact) data from Kafka? The simplest way to remove messages from Kafka is to simply let them expire. By default Kafka will keep data for two weeks and you can tune this as required. There is also an Admin API that lets you delete messages explicitly if they are older than some specified time or offset. But what if we are keeping data in the log for a longer period of time, say for Event Sourcing use cases or as a source of truth? For this you can make use of  Compacted Topics, which allow messages to be explicitly deleted or replaced by key.
    Similar applies to Kinesis I would think.

    (tags: kafka kinesis gdpr expiry deleting data privacy)

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Links for 2017-12-04

  • Bella Caledonia: A Wake-Up Call

    Swathes of the British elite appeared ignorant of much of Irish history and the country’s present reality. They seemed to have missed that Ireland’s economic dependence on exports to its neighbour came speedily to an end after both joined the European Economic Community in 1973. They seemed unacquainted with Ireland’s modern reality as a confident, wealthy, and internationally-oriented nation with overwhelming popular support for EU membership. Repeated descriptions of the border as a “surprise” obstacle to talks betrayed that Britain had apparently not listened, or had dismissed, the Irish government’s insistence in tandem with the rest of the EU since April that no Brexit deal could be agreed that would harden the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. The British government failed to listen to Ireland throughout history, and it was failing to listen still.

    (tags: europe ireland brexit uk ukip eu northern-ireland border history)

  • AWS re:invent 2017: Advanced Design Patterns for Amazon DynamoDB (DAT403) – YouTube

    Video of one of the more interesting sessions from this year’s Re:invent

    (tags: reinvent aws dynamodb videos tutorials coding)

  • AWS re:invent 2017: Container Networking Deep Dive with Amazon ECS (CON401) // Practical Applications

    Another re:Invent highlight to watch — ECS’ new native container networking model explained

    (tags: reinvent aws containers docker ecs networking sdn ops)

  • VLC in European Parliament’s bug bounty program

    This was not something I expected:

    The European Parliament has approved budget to improve the EU’s IT infrastructure by extending the free software security audit programme (FOSSA) and by including a bug bounty approach in the programme. The Commission intends to conduct a small-scale “bug bounty” activity on open-source software with companies already operating in the market. The scope of this action is to: Run a small-scale “bug bounty” activity for open source software project or library for a period of up to two months maximum; The purpose of the procedure is to provide the European institutions with open source software projects or libraries that have been properly screened for potential vulnerabilities; The process must be fully open to all potential bug hunters, while staying in-line with the existing Terms of Service of the bug bounty platform.

    (tags: vlc bug-bounties security europe europarl eu ep bugs oss video open-source)

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Links for 2017-12-01

  • Sonarr

    newsgroup/torrent TV PVR automation. looks neat

    (tags: pvr tv automation usenet bittorrent)

  • South Pole Ice Tunnels – Antarctica – Atlas Obscura

    ‘One of the strangest of these monuments consists of the body of an atrophied White Sturgeon and a handwritten account of its journey. The fish had arrived in 1992 at McMurdo Station (a US base located at the edge of Antarctica and the Ross Sea) and had been destined for a remote Russian station called Vostok. However, the Russians gifted the sturgeon to American scientists who later discarded it after it had languished uneaten in a freezer for several months. It was from the trash dump that a garbage processing crew reclaimed the sturgeon, and it then made its way from location to location across Antarctica. It finally became enshrined in the tunnels beneath the South Pole where it greets visitors from a ledge chiseled in the ice.’

    (tags: south-pole pole big-dead-place shrines funny sturgeons antarctica amundsen-scott-station mcmurdo vostok)

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Links for 2017-11-30

  • Introducing the Amazon Time Sync Service

    Well overdue; includes Google-style leap smearing

    (tags: time-sync time aws services ntp ops)

  • The Impenetrable Program Transforming How Courts Treat DNA Evidence | WIRED

    ‘So the lab turned to TrueAllele, a program sold by Cybergenetics, a small company dedicated to helping law enforcement analyze DNA where regular lab tests fail. They do it with something called probabilistic genotyping, which uses complex mathematical formulas to examine the statistical likelihood that a certain genotype comes from one individual over another. It’s a type of DNA testing that’s becoming increasingly popular in courtrooms. ‘ […] ‘But now legal experts, along with Johnson’s advocates, are joining forces to argue to a California court that TrueAllele—the seemingly magic software that helped law enforcement analyze the evidence that tied Johnson to the crimes—should be forced to reveal the code that sent Johnson to prison. This code, they say, is necessary in order to properly evaluate the technology. In fact, they say, justice from an unknown algorithm is no justice at all.’

    (tags: law justice trueallele software dna evidence statistics probability code-review auditing)

  • Meet the man who deactivated Trump’s Twitter account

    Legend!

    His last day at Twitter was mostly uneventful, he says. There were many goodbyes, and he worked up until the last hour before his computer access was to be shut off. Near the end of his shift, the fateful alert came in. This is where Trump’s behavior intersects with Duysak’s work life. Someone reported Trump’s account on Duysak’s last day; as a final, throwaway gesture, he put the wheels in motion to deactivate it. Then he closed his computer and left the building.

    (tags: twitter trump bahtiyar-duysak abuse reporting funny)

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Links for 2017-11-29

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Links for 2017-11-28

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Links for 2017-11-27

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Links for 2017-11-25

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Links for 2017-11-24

  • Witney Seibold watches all the Academy Award Best Picture winners

    Myself and the missus are in the process of doing this right now!

    (tags: nerdist witney-seibold academy-awards best-picture awards movies)

  • Spam is back | The Outline

    it’s 2017, and spam has clawed itself back from the grave. It shows up on social media and dating sites as bots hoping to lure you into downloading malware or clicking an affiliate link. It creeps onto your phone as text messages and robocalls that ring you five times a day about luxury cruises and fictitious tax bills. Networks associated with the buzzy new cryptocurrency system Ethereum have been plagued with spam. Facebook recently fought a six-month battle against a spam operation that was administering fake accounts in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and other countries. Last year, a Chicago resident sued the Trump campaign for allegedly sending unsolicited text message spam; this past November, ZDNet reported that voters were being inundated with political text messages they never signed up for. Apps can be horrid spam vectors, too — TechCrunch writer Jordan Crook wrote in April about how she idly downloaded an app called Gather that promptly spammed everyone in her contact list. Repeated mass data breaches that include contact information, such as the Yahoo breach in which 3 billion user accounts were exposed, surely haven’t helped. Meanwhile, you, me, and everyone we know is being plagued by robocalls. “There is no recourse for me,” lamented Troy Doliner, a student in Boston who gets robocalls every day. “I am harassed by a faceless entity that I cannot track down.” “I think we had a really unique set of circumstances that created this temporary window where spam was in remission,” said Finn Brunton, an assistant professor at NYU who wrote Spam: A Shadow History of the Internet, “and now we’re on the other side of that, with no end in sight.”
    (via Boing Boing)

    (tags: spam privacy email social-media web robocalls phone ethereum texts abuse)

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Links for 2017-11-20

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Links for 2017-11-17

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Links for 2017-11-16

  • Why is this company tracking where you are on Thanksgiving?

    Creepy:

    To do this, they tapped a company called SafeGraph that provided them with 17 trillion location markers for 10 million smartphones. The data wasn’t just staggering in sheer quantity. It also appears to be extremely granular. Researchers “used this data to identify individuals’ home locations, which they defined as the places people were most often located between the hours of 1 and 4 a.m.,” wrote The Washington Post. [….] This means SafeGraph is looking at an individual device and tracking where its owner is going throughout their day. A common defense from companies that creepily collect massive amounts of data is that the data is only analyzed in aggregate; for example, Google’s database BigQuery, which allows organizations to upload big data sets and then query them quickly, promises that all its public data sets are “fully anonymized” and “contain no personally-identifying information.” In multiple press releases from SafeGraph’s partners, the company’s location data is referred to as “anonymized,” but in this case they seem to be interpreting the concept of anonymity quite liberally given the specificity of the data. Most people probably don’t realize that their Thanksgiving habits could end up being scrutinized by strangers. It’s unclear if users realize that their data is being used this way, but all signs point to no. (SafeGraph and the researchers did not immediately respond to questions.) SafeGraph gets location data from “from numerous smartphone apps,” according to the researchers.

    (tags: safegraph apps mobile location tracking surveillance android iphone ios smartphones big-data)

  • Quad9

    Quad9 is a free, recursive, anycast DNS platform that provides end users robust security protections, high-performance, and privacy.  Security: Quad9 blocks against known malicious domains, preventing your computers and IoT devices from connecting malware or phishing sites. Whenever a Quad9 user clicks on a website link or types in an address into a web browser, Quad9 will check the site against the IBM X-Force threat intelligence database of over 40 billion analyzed web pages and images. Quad9 also taps feeds from 18 additional threat intelligence partners to block a large portion of the threats that present risk to end users and businesses alike.  Performance: Quad9 systems are distributed worldwide in more than 70 locations at launch, with more than 160 locations in total on schedule for 2018. These servers are located primarily at Internet Exchange points, meaning that the distance and time required to get answers is lower than almost any other solution. These systems are distributed worldwide, not just in high-population areas, meaning users in less well-served areas can see significant improvements in speed on DNS lookups. The systems are “anycast” meaning that queries will automatically be routed to the closest operational system.  Privacy: No personally-identifiable information is collected by the system. IP addresses of end users are not stored to disk or distributed outside of the equipment answering the query in the local data center. Quad9 is a nonprofit organization dedicated only to the operation of DNS services. There are no other secondary revenue streams for personally-identifiable data, and the core charter of the organization is to provide secure, fast, private DNS
    Awesome!

    (tags: quad9 resolvers dns anycast ip networking privacy security)

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Links for 2017-11-14

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Links for 2017-11-13

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Links for 2017-11-10

  • Driverless shuttle in Las Vegas gets in fender bender within an hour

    Like any functioning autonomous vehicle, the shuttle can avoid obstacles and stop in a hurry if needed. What it apparently can’t do is move a couple feet out of the way when it looks like a 20-ton truck is going to back into it. A passenger interviewed by KSNV shared her frustration: The shuttle just stayed still and we were like, ‘oh my gosh, it’s gonna hit us, it’s gonna hit us!’ and then.. it hit us! And the shuttle didn’t have the ability to move back, either. Like, the shuttle just stayed still.

    (tags: ai driverless-cars driving cars las-vegas aaa navya keolis)

  • The naked truth about Facebook’s revenge porn tool

    This is absolutely spot on.

    If Facebook wanted to implement a truly trusted system for revenge porn victims, they could put the photo hashing on the user side of things — so only the hash is transferred to Facebook. To verify the claim that the image is truly a revenge porn issue, the victim could have the images verified through a trusted revenge porn advocacy organization. Theoretically, the victim then would have a verified, privacy-safe version of the photo, and a hash that could be also sent to Google and other sites.

    (tags: facebook privacy hashing pictures images revenge-porn abuse via:jwz)

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Links for 2017-11-09

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Links for 2017-11-08

  • Facebook asks users for nude photos in project to combat revenge porn

    The photos are hashed, server-side, using the PhotoDNA hashing algorithm. This would have been way way better if it ran locally, on user’s phones, instead though. Interesting to note that PhotoDNA claims to have a “1 in 10 billion” false positive rate according to https://www.itu.int/en/cop/case-studies/Documents/ICMEC_PhotoDNA.PDF

    (tags: photodna hashing images facebook revenge-porn messenger nudes photos)

  • The $280M Ethereum bug

    The newly deployed contract, 0x863df6bfa4469f3ead0be8f9f2aae51c91a907b4, contains a vulnerability where its owner was uninitialized. Although, the contract is a library it was possible for devops199 to turn it into a regular multi-sig wallet since for Ethereum there is no real distinction between accounts, libraries, and contracts. The event occurred in two transactions, a first one to take over the library and a second one to kill the library?—?which was used by all multi-sig wallets created after the 20th of July. Since by design smart-contracts themselves can’t be patched easily, this make dependancies on third party libraries very lethal if a mistake happens. The fact that libraries are global is also arguable, this would be shocking if it was how our daily use Operating Systems would work.

    (tags: security bitcoin ethereum lol fail smart-contracts)

  • How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You’ve Ever Met

    Oh god this is so creepy.

    Facebook’s machinery operates on a scale far beyond normal human interactions. And the results of its People You May Know algorithm are anything but obvious. In the months I’ve been writing about PYMK, as Facebook calls it, I’ve heard more than a hundred bewildering anecdotes: A man who years ago donated sperm to a couple, secretly, so they could have a child—only to have Facebook recommend the child as a person he should know. He still knows the couple but is not friends with them on Facebook. A social worker whose client called her by her nickname on their second visit, because she’d shown up in his People You May Know, despite their not having exchanged contact information. A woman whose father left her family when she was six years old—and saw his then-mistress suggested to her as a Facebook friend 40 years later. An attorney who wrote: “I deleted Facebook after it recommended as PYMK a man who was defense counsel on one of my cases. We had only communicated through my work email, which is not connected to my Facebook, which convinced me Facebook was scanning my work email.”

    (tags: facebook privacy surveillance security creepy phones contacts pymk)

  • A Clash of Cultures

    In short, I am in support of Naomi Wu. Rather than let the Internet speculate on why, I am sharing my perspectives on the situation preemptively. As with most Internet controversies, it’s messy and emotional. I will try my best to outline the biases and issues I have observed. Of course, everyone has their perspective; you don’t have to agree with mine. And I suspect many of my core audience will dislike and disagree with this post. However, the beginning of healing starts with sharing and listening. I will share, and I respectfully request that readers read the entire content of this post before attacking any individual point out of context. The key forces I see at play are: Prototype Bias – how assumptions based on stereotypes influence the way we think and feel Idol Effect – the tendency to assign exaggerated capabilities and inflated expectations upon celebrities Power Asymmetry – those with more power have more influence, and should be held to a higher standard of accountability Guanxi Bias – the tendency to give foreign faces more credibility than local faces in China All these forces came together in a perfect storm this past week.

    (tags: culture engineering maker naomi-wu women stereotypes bias idols power china bunnie)

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Links for 2017-11-07

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Links for 2017-11-06

  • How to effectively complain to an Irish broadcaster about a public affairs show

    Simon McGarr: “If you think that a public affairs show has failed to address a matter with proper balance, you can (Tweet) say it to the breeze or complain. There is a process to follow to make an effective complaint 1) complain to broadcaster 2) complain to BAI if unhappy with response.” Thread with more details, and yet more at https://twitter.com/IrishTV_films/status/927172642544783360

    (tags: complaining complaints rte bai ireland current-affairs)

  • The 10 Top Recommendations for the AI Field in 2017 from the AI Now Institute

    I am 100% behind this. There’s so much potential for hidden bias and unethical discrimination in careless AI/ML deployment.

    While AI holds significant promise, we’re seeing significant challenges in the rapid push to integrate these systems into high stakes domains. In criminal justice, a team at Propublica, and multiple academics since, have investigated how an algorithm used by courts and law enforcement to predict recidivism in criminal defendants may be introducing significant bias against African Americans. In a healthcare setting, a study at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center observed that an AI system used to triage pneumonia patients was missing a major risk factor for severe complications. In the education field, teachers in Texas successfully sued their school district for evaluating them based on a ‘black box’ algorithm, which was exposed to be deeply flawed. This handful of examples is just the start?—?there’s much more we do not yet know. Part of the challenge is that the industry currently lacks standardized methods for testing and auditing AI systems to ensure they are safe and not amplifying bias. Yet early-stage AI systems are being introduced simultaneously across multiple areas, including healthcare, finance, law, education, and the workplace. These systems are increasingly being used to predict everything from our taste in music, to our likelihood of experiencing mental illness, to our fitness for a job or a loan.

    (tags: ai algorithms machine-learning ai-now ethics bias racism discrimination)

  • Something is wrong on the internet – James Bridle – Medium

    ‘an essay on YouTube, children’s videos, automation, abuse, and violence, which crystallises a lot of my current feelings about the internet through a particularly unpleasant example from it. […] What we’re talking about is very young children [..] being deliberately targeted with content which will traumatise and disturb them, via networks which are extremely vulnerable to exactly this form of abuse. It’s not about trolls, but about a kind of violence inherent in the combination of digital systems and capitalist incentives. It’s down to that level of the metal.’

    (tags: internet youtube children web automation violence horror 4chan james-bridle)

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Links for 2017-11-03

  • Inside The Great Poop Emoji Feud

    PILE_OF_POO in the news!

    The debate appears to be between some of Unicode’s most prolific contributors and typographers (Unicode was initially established to develop standards for translating alphabets into code that can be read across all computers and operating systems), and those in the consortium who focus primarily on the evolution of emojis. The two chief critics — Michael Everson and Andrew West, both typographers — say that the emoji proposal process has become too commercial and frivolous, thereby cheapening the Unicode Consortium’s long body of work. Their argument centers around “Frowning Pile Of Poo,” one of the emojis under consideration for the June 2018 class. In an Oct. 22 memo to the Unicode Technical Committee, Everson tore into the committee over the submission calling it “damaging … to the Unicode standard.”

    (tags: pile-of-poo emoji funny michael-everson unicode frowning-poo poo shit)

  • newrelic/sidecar: Gossip-based service discovery. Docker native, but supports static discovery, too.

    An AP gossip-based service-discovery sidecar process.

    Services communicate to each other through an HAproxy instance on each host that is itself managed and configured by Sidecar. It is inspired by Airbnb’s SmartStack. But, we believe it has a few advantages over SmartStack: Native support for Docker (works without Docker, too!); No dependence on Zookeeper or other centralized services; Peer-to-peer, so it works on your laptop or on a large cluster; Static binary means it’s easy to deploy, and there is no interpreter needed; Tiny memory usage (under 20MB) and few execution threads means its very light weight

    (tags: clustering docker go service-discovery ap sidecar haproxy discovery architecture)

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Links for 2017-11-02

  • aws-vault

    ‘A vault for securely storing and accessing AWS credentials in development environments’. Scott Piper says: ‘You should not use the AWS CLI with MFA without aws-vault, and probably should not use the CLI at all without aws-vault, because of it’s benefit of storing your keys outside of ~/.aws/credentials (since every once in a while a developer will decide to upload all their dot-files in their home directory to github so they can use the same .vimrc and .bashrc aliases everywhere, and will end up uploading their AWS creds).’

    (tags: aws vault security cli development coding dotfiles credentials mfa)

  • AWS Service Terms

    57.10 Acceptable Use; Safety-Critical Systems. Your use of the Lumberyard Materials must comply with the AWS Acceptable Use Policy. The Lumberyard Materials are not intended for use with life-critical or safety-critical systems, such as use in operation of medical equipment, automated transportation systems, autonomous vehicles, aircraft or air traffic control, nuclear facilities, manned spacecraft, or military use in connection with live combat. However, this restriction will not apply in the event of the occurrence (certified by the United States Centers for Disease Control or successor body) of a widespread viral infection transmitted via bites or contact with bodily fluids that causes human corpses to reanimate and seek to consume living human flesh, blood, brain or nerve tissue and is likely to result in the fall of organized civilization.
    Seems fair enough.

    (tags: aws zombies funny t-and-cs legal civilization just-in-case)

  • How the Guardian found 800,000 paying readers

    The strategy to rescue the Guardian from financial oblivion has attained a landmark position by increasing its revenue from readers to a point where it now outweighs the paper’s income from advertising. This significant shift in the Guardian’s business model, making it less dependent on a highly challenging advertising market for media companies, results largely from a quadrupling in the number of readers making monthly payments under the title’s membership scheme, which has grown from 75,000 to 300,000 members in the past year.
    Wow. Good job Guardian!

    (tags: guardian journalism subscriptions newspapers future membership donations)

  • How to make the function keys the default Touch Bar display

    Gonna need this for the new work laptop

    (tags: touchbar apple ui function-keys keyboard usability it-just-works)

  • 20 Touch Bar Tips & Tricks for the New MacBook Pro – YouTube

    another set of touchbar tips

    (tags: touchbar it-just-works apple ui usability youtube)

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Links for 2017-11-01

  • Fooling Neural Networks in the Physical World with 3D Adversarial Objects · labsix

    This is amazingly weird stuff. Fooling NNs with adversarial objects:

    Here is a 3D-printed turtle that is classified at every viewpoint as a “rifle” by Google’s InceptionV3 image classifier, whereas the unperturbed turtle is consistently classified as “turtle”. We do this using a new algorithm for reliably producing adversarial examples that cause targeted misclassification under transformations like blur, rotation, zoom, or translation, and we use it to generate both 2D printouts and 3D models that fool a standard neural network at any angle. Our process works for arbitrary 3D models – not just turtles! We also made a baseball that classifies as an espresso at every angle! The examples still fool the neural network when we put them in front of semantically relevant backgrounds; for example, you’d never see a rifle underwater, or an espresso in a baseball mitt.

    (tags: ai deep-learning 3d-printing objects security hacking rifles models turtles adversarial-classification classification google inceptionv3 images image-classification)

  • Rich “Lowtax” Kyanka on Twitter’s abuse/troll problem

    how did you solve this problem at Something Awful? You said you wrote a bunch of rules but internet pedants will always find ways to get around them. The last rule says we can ban you for any reason. It’s like the catch-all. We can ban you if it’s too hot in the room, we can ban you if we had a bad day, we can ban you if our finger slips and hits the ban button. And that way people know that if they’re doing something and it’s not technically breaking any rules but they’re obviously trying to push shit as far as they can, we can still ban them. But, unlike Twitter, we actually have what’s called the Leper’s Colony, which says what they did and has their track record. Twitter just says, “You’re gone.”

    (tags: twitter communication discussion history somethingawful lowtax)

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Links for 2017-10-26

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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 2017-10-06

  • 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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