Links for 2014-11-11

  • Life expectancy increases are due mainly to healthier children, not longer old age

    Interesting — I hadn’t expected this. ‘Life expectancy at birth [in the US] in 1930 was indeed only 58 for men and 62 for women, and the retirement age was 65. But life expectancy at birth in the early decades of the 20th century was low due mainly to high infant mortality, and someone who died as a child would never have worked and paid into Social Security. A more appropriate measure is probably life expectancy after attainment of adulthood.’ …. ‘Men who attained age 65 could expect to collect Social Security benefits for almost 13 years (and the numbers are even higher for women).’ In Ireland, life expectancy at birth has increased 18.4 years since 1926 — but life expectancy for men aged 65 (the pension age) has only increased by 3.8 years. This means that increased life expectancy figures are not particularly relevant to the “pension crunch” story. Via Fred Logue:

    (tags: via:fplogue statistics taxes life-expectancy pensions infant-mortality health 1930s)

  • DynamoDB Streams

    This is pretty awesome. All changes to a DynamoDB table can be streamed to a Kinesis stream, MySQL-replication-style. The nice bit is that it has a solid way to ensure readers won’t get overwhelmed by the stream volume (since ddb tables are IOPS-rate-limited), and Kinesis has a solid way to read missed updates (since it’s a Kafka-style windowed persistent stream). With this you have a pretty reliable way to ensure you’re not going to suffer data loss.

    (tags: iops dynamodb aws kinesis reliability replication multi-az multi-region failover streaming kafka)

  • Help the GNOME Foundation defend the GNOME trademark

    Recently Groupon announced a product with the same product name as GNOME. Groupon’s product is a tablet based point of sale “operating system for merchants to run their entire operation.” The GNOME community was shocked that Groupon would use our mark for a product so closely related to the GNOME desktop and technology. It was almost inconceivable to us that Groupon, with over $2.5 billion in annual revenue, a full legal team and a huge engineering staff would not have heard of the GNOME project, found our trademark registration using a casual search, or even found our website, but we nevertheless got in touch with them and asked them to pick another name. Not only did Groupon refuse, but it has now filed even more trademark applications (the full list of applications they filed can be found here, here and here). To use the GNOME name for a proprietary software product that is antithetical to the fundamental ideas of the GNOME community, the free software community and the GNU project is outrageous. Please help us fight this huge company as they try to trade on our goodwill and hard earned reputation.

    (tags: gnome groupon trademark infringement open-source operating-systems ip law floss)


    ‘Hosted Status Pages for Your Company’. We use these guys in $work, and their service is fantastic — it’s a line of javascript in the page template which will easily allow you to add a “service degraded” banner when things go pear-shaped, along with an external status site for when things get really messy. They’ve done a good clean job.

    (tags: monitoring server status outages uptime saas infrastructure)

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