Links for 2016-06-15

  • What the Irish Ate Before Potatoes – Bon Appétit

    on the history of Irish cuisine — mostly milk and butter, and notably “bog butter”:

    And the Irish didn’t like their butter just one way: from the 12th century on, there are records of butter flavored with onion and garlic, and local traditions of burying butter in bogs. Originally, it’s thought that bog butter began as a good storage system, but after a time, buried bog butter came to be valued for its uniquely boggy flavor.

    (tags: bog-butter bogs ireland food eating milk curds whey banbidh dairy)

  • The tyranny of the algorithm yet again…

    Paypal will no longer handle payments if the user’s address includes the word “Isis”:

    That these place names exist won’t be a surprise to anyone familiar with English limnology – the study of rivers and inland waters. As Wikipedia helpfully tells us, “The Isis is the name given to the part of the River Thames above Iffley Lock which flows through the university city of Oxford”. In at least one local primary school I’m familiar with, the classes are called Windrush, Cherwell, Isis and Thames. […] Now PayPal has decided that they are not prepared to facilitate payments for goods to be delivered to an address which includes the word “Isis”. An Isis street resident ran into some unexpected difficulties when attempting to purchase a small quantity of haberdashery on the internet with the aid of a PayPal account. The transaction would not process. In puzzlement she eventually got irritated enough to brave the 24/7 customer support telephone tag labyrinth. The short version of the response from the eventual real person she managed to get through to was that PayPal have blacklisted addresses which include the name “Isis”. They will not process payments for goods to be delivered to an Isis related address, whatever state of privileged respectability the residents of such properties may have earned or inherited in their lifetimes to this point.
    One has to wonder if this also brings the risk of adding the user to a secret list, somewhere. Trial by algorithm.

    (tags: isis algorithms automation fail law-enforcement paypal uk rivers)

  • Can the United Kingdom government legally disregard a vote for Brexit?

    Oh thank god, there’s a “get out of jail” card before they destroy the global economy to appease the eurosceptics.

    On the day after a vote for Brexit, the UK will still be a member state of the EU. All the legislation which gives effect to EU law will still be in place. Nothing as a matter of law changes in any way just because of a vote to Leave. What will make all the legal difference is not a decision to leave by UK voters in a non-binding advisory vote, but the decision of the prime minister on how to react before making any Article 50 notification. And what the prime minister will do politically after a referendum vote for Brexit is, at the moment, as unknown as the result of the result of the referendum itself.

    (tags: brexit law uk government referenda eurosceptics eu)

  • Insurance Comparison Ireland

    comparison-shopping site for Irish car insurance. recommended by some random Broadsheet commenter, worth a try next time this comes up

    (tags: comparison shopping ireland car-insurance insurance)

  • Differential Privacy

    Apple have announced they plan to use it; Google use a DP algorithm called RAPPOR in Chrome usage statistics. In summary: “novel privacy technology that allows inferring statistics about populations while preserving the privacy of individual users”.

    (tags: apple privacy anonymization google rappor algorithms sampling populations statistics differential-privacy)

  • Sample letter to refuse permission for a child’s data to be transferred into POD – Tuppenceworth.ie blog

    The Department of Education has issued a new circular accepting it cannot defund the education of children whose parents do not want their kid’s data to be in POD [the privacy-infringing database of all Irish primary-school children]. They’ll only accept a written request as the basis of that refusal, however. So, here’s one you can use that meets the requirements. Send or give it to your school.

    (tags: pod privacy ireland children kids school)

  • Three starts network-level ad blocking trial

    Three, the mobile carrier, has begun warming up for a network-level ad blocking trial. It will become one of the first mobile carriers worldwide—and certainly in the UK—to try blocking ads before they are squirted over the network to the consumer, rather than attempting to hide or block ads locally on the device, which can cost both bandwidth and battery life. The ad blocking trial, which will affect both mobile websites and apps, will take place during a 24-hour period sometime between June 13 and 20. Three says it will contact customers and ask them to sign up for the trial, presumably via the online customer portal. It isn’t clear how large the trial will be. Technologically, the network-level ad blocking will be powered by Shine. Due to the nature of the beast—the constant tussle between ad publishers and ad blockers—Shine doesn’t like to talk about its tech in much detail. It sounds like Shine uses deep packet inspection and machine learning to find packets that contain ads, and then replaces or removes them in such a way that it doesn’t break the layout of the website or app.

    (tags: shine three uk adblocking mobile isps)

  • Some thoughts on operating containers

    R.I.Pienaar talks about the conventions he uses when containerising; looks like a decent approach.

    (tags: ops containers docker ripienaar packaging)

  • ClickHouse — open-source distributed column-oriented DBMS

    ‘ClickHouse manages extremely large volumes of data in a stable and sustainable manner. It currently powers Yandex.Metrica, world’s second largest web analytics platform, with over 13 trillion database records and over 20 billion events a day, generating customized reports on-the-fly, directly from non-aggregated data. This system was successfully implemented at CERN’s LHCb experiment to store and process metadata on 10bn events with over 1000 attributes per event registered in 2011.’ Yandex-tastic, but still looks really interesting

    (tags: yandex analytics database storage sql clickhouse)

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