Links for 2020-02-17

  • Amazon EBS Multi-Attach now available on Provisioned IOPS io1 volumes

    Attach multiple EC2 instances to the same EBS volume. Now that is pretty cool

    (tags: ebs ec2 filesystems networking ops)

  • excellent letter to the editor of the Farmer’s Journal regarding the IFA’s climate-denialist stance

    in full:

    Dr Donal Murphy-Bokern M.Agr.Sc. (NUI), Kroge-Ehrendorf, Germany Dear Sir: I’ve been involved in reseach on diet, sustainable agriculture and climate change for 25 years. Having followed the public debate across Europe in that time, I can only describe the current debate about diet and greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland as hysterical. This hysteria started a year ago with the then Irish Farmers Association’s president appearing to refer to the EAT Lancet Commission, which includes highly respected nutritionists from the Harvard School of Medicine, as “quacks masquerading as nutrition experts”. This was followed by his condemnation of the Taoiseach for answering a question about his carbon footprint by stating an intention to moderate his consumption of red meat. No vegan-led campaign could have better drawn public attention to the links between diet and environment than the IFA’s boorish and ignorant reflex reactions. The hysteria goes on. Now, just a year later, the IFA’s chosen greenhouse gas “guru” reports that methane from farming should be treated differently to CO,, raising hopes of a get-out-of-jail card for cattle and sheep. Self-description as a guru does not invite the confidence of scientific peers and Dr Mitloehner’s presentation, published by the IFA, reveals why he is as controversial as is widely reported. Methane’s short-lived nature does not lead to the public policy outcomes that he implies it should with climate acquittal for ruminant production. He reduced discussion about the impact of livestock to one currency, which is carbon, and then misrepresented the valuation of that currency. Despite being a native of Germany, where most land not suitable for arable crops is under forest, he argued that marginal land in Ireland cannot be used for anything other than for keeping cattle and sheep. But what was most striking about the IFA’s guru is how he worked the audience using rhetorical tricks more associated with demagogic politicians than science. This science denial included using the strawman fallacy, raising and then countering several bogus opposing arguments. Listening to him, one could be forgiven for believing that vegans have been protesting on the streets of Dublin threatening to interfere with the nation’s food supplies. He used the classical conspiracy theory complete with a collective name for the conspirators: “destructors”. He then drew on popular images of Ireland (“green and lush” and “happy cows”) to ingratiate himself with the audience while making wild and poorly informed assumptions about the scope for carbon sequestration on Irish grassland, displaying a poor understanding of basic soil science. The IFA’s stated purpose was the rebalancing of the public debate. Hosting a controversial US scientist who refers to those with views different to those of the IFA on these matters as “destructors” is hardly a promising way forward. The IFA seems to continue to take pride in caring little for the concerns and expectations of the wider society upon which the real long-term interests of its members ultimately depend. Their faux-militancy might go down well with some members, but it now risks presenting Irish farmers as environmental and social pariahs.

    (tags: letters farmers-journal farming ifa ireland climate-change climate-denialism)

  • Shazam’s audio search algorithm

    ‘a combinatorially-hashed time-frequency constellation analysis of the audio’ [pdf] (via papers we love)

    (tags: music shazam search audio algorithms papers pdf via:papers-we-love)

  • Cheap PC hardware watchdog

    Nelson bought a super-cheap, super-simple AliExpress thingy:

    It looks like a USB device, but the USB is only for power. The main I/O are two pairs of wires: one that connects to your hard drive activity LED, one that connects to your hardware reset switch. Yes, it’s that dumb. Basically it just watches the LED and if it hasn’t flashed in awhile (no idea how long, maybe a minute?) it sends a reset to the motherboard.

    (tags: via:nelson watchdogs hardware gadgets reliability usb)

  • See how climate change has impacted the world since your childhood

    Fantastic (albeit terrifying) dataviz work from Oz’s ABC News

    (tags: australia environment visualization climate climate-change future dataviz abc terrifying)

  • News media article tended to focus on e-cigarette risks, rather than potential benefits

    This has implications for cigarette smokers trying to quit the habit:

    News media may influence public perceptions and attitudes about electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), which may influence product use and attitudes about their regulation. The purpose of this study is to describe trends in US news coverage of e-cigarettes during a period of evolving regulation, science, and trends in the use of e-cigarettes. [….] Across years, articles more frequently mentioned e-cigarette risks (70%) than potential benefits (37.3%).

    (tags: media news smoking cigarettes vapes e-cigarettes news-media)

  • Radbot

    This seems very clever — replace traditional central heating radiator thermostatic regulation valves (TRVs) with “Radbot” TRVs, for energy efficiency: ‘Extensive testing of Radbot in both controlled laboratory conditions and field trials have demonstrated it is possible to save up to 30% of your heating energy per radiator. 4-5 Radbots installed in the average sized house can save up to 30% of your energy bill.’ The Radbot detects your presence, and turns down rads in unoccupied rooms, turning them up again when you return.

    (tags: radbot trvs radiators heating house home gadgets energy)

  • 12 Signs You’re Working in a Feature Factory

    I’ve used the term *Feature Factory *at a couple conference talks over the past two years. I started using the term when a software developer friend complained that he was “just sitting in the factory, cranking out features, and sending them down the line.”
    heh, this rings a bell….

    (tags: features product-management agile teams work management product companies prioritization planning)

  • The false promise of “renewable natural gas”

    RNG [renewable natural gas] can, depending on feedstock and circumstances, be low or even zero-carbon. Utilities argue that ramping up the production of RNG and blending it with normal natural gas in pipelines can reduce [greenhouse gases] faster and cheaper than electrifying buildings. By pursuing electrification, they say, regulators are pushing unnecessary cost hikes onto consumers. It would be nice for the utilities if this were true. But it’s not. RNG is not as low-carbon as the industry claims and its local air and water impacts are concentrated in vulnerable communities. Even if it were low-carbon and equitable, there simply isn’t enough of it to substitute for more than a small fraction of natural gas. And even if it were low-carbon, equitable, and abundant, it still wouldn’t be an excuse to expand natural gas infrastructure or slow electrification. It isn’t a close call. The research is clear: Especially in a temperate climate like California, RNG is not a viable alternative for decarbonizing buildings. It is a desperate bid by natural gas utilities to delay their inevitable decline. Policymakers would be foolish to fall for it.

    (tags: decarbonization carbon climate-change rng renewables natural-gas pollution environment)

  • Opinion: Why has the State invested €70m in a private company to look at our genetic data?

    In the UK, the publicly-funded 100,000 Genomes Project is attempting to sequence 100,000 genomes from 85,000 NHS patients. It is a private company, owned by the Department of Health and Social Care, that partners with industry and has transparent policies in place on ethics, access to the genetic data and engagement with patients and the public. Ireland too has decided to invest in genomic medicine. Rather than ensure that this investment is in a manner that best serves the Irish public, €73.5 million was given to Genomic Medicine Ireland (GMI), a company owned by the Chinese pharmaceutical company WuXi with zero public ownership, to sequence the genomes of 400,000 Irish people. This investment has serious legal and ethical concerns that are likely to negatively impact genomic research in Ireland.

    (tags: ireland genomics genomes medicine health future china wuxi gmi)

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