Links for 2018-06-26

  • Facial recognition software is not ready for use by law enforcement | TechCrunch

    This is a pretty amazing op-ed from the CEO of a facial recognition software development company:

    Facial recognition technologies, used in the identification of suspects, negatively affects people of color. To deny this fact would be a lie. And clearly, facial recognition-powered government surveillance is an extraordinary invasion of the privacy of all citizens — and a slippery slope to losing control of our identities altogether. There’s really no “nice” way to acknowledge these things. I’ve been pretty clear about the potential dangers associated with current racial biases in face recognition, and open in my opposition to the use of the technology in law enforcement. As the black chief executive of a software company developing facial recognition services, I have a personal connection to the technology, both culturally and socially. Having the privilege of a comprehensive understanding of how the software works gives me a unique perspective that has shaped my positions about its uses. As a result, I (and my company) have come to believe that the use of commercial facial recognition in law enforcement or in government surveillance of any kind is wrong — and that it opens the door for gross misconduct by the morally corrupt.

    (tags: techcrunch facial-recognition computer-vision machine-learning racism algorithms america)

  • Yelp, The Red Hen, And How All Tech Platforms Are Now Pawns In The Culture War

    Though the brigading of review sites and doxxing behavior isn’t exactly new, the speed and coordination is; one consequence of a never-ending information war is that everyone is already well versed in their specific roles. And across the internet, it appears that technology platforms, both big and small, must grapple with the reality that they are now powerful instruments in an increasingly toxic political and cultural battle. After years attempting to dodge notions of bias at all costs, Silicon Valley’s tech platforms are up against a painful reality: They need to expect and prepare for the armies of the culture war and all the uncomfortable policing that inevitably follows. Policing and intervening isn’t just politically tricky for the platforms, it’s also a tacit admission that Big Tech’s utopian ideologies are deeply flawed in practice. Connecting everyone and everything in an instantly accessible way can have terrible consequences that the tech industry still doesn’t seem to be on top of. Silicon Valley frequently demos a future of seamless integration. It’s a future where cross-referencing your calendar with Yelp, Waze, and Uber creates a service that’s greater than the sum of its parts. It’s an appealing vision, but it is increasingly co-opted by its darker counterpart, in which major technology platforms are daisy-chained together to manipulate, abuse, and harass.

    (tags: culture-war technology silicon-valley yelp reviews red-hen dystopia spam doxxing brigading politics)

  • AWS Developer Forums: m5.xlarge in us-east-1 has intermittent DNS resolution failures

    likewise for C5 instance types — reportedly still an issue

    (tags: c5 m5 instances ec2 aws amazon ops dns)

  • ICE’s Risk Classification Assessment turned into a digital rubber stamp

    If this report is correct, this “statistics-based” risk classification tool is just a cruel joke:

    To conform to Trump’s policies, Reuters has learned, ICE modified a tool officers have been using since 2013 when deciding whether an immigrant should be detained or released on bond. The computer-based Risk Classification Assessment uses statistics to determine an immigrant’s flight risk and danger to society. Previously, the tool automatically recommended either “detain” or “release.” Last year, ICE spokesman Bourke said, the agency removed the “release” recommendation

    (tags: immigration statistics machine-learning rubber-stamping fake-algorithms whitewashing ice us-politics)

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Links for 2018-06-20

  • Visa admits 5m payments failed over a broken switch

    “We operate two redundant data centres in the UK, meaning that either one can independently handle 100% of the transactions for Visa in Europe. In normal circumstances, the systems are synchronised and either centre can take over from the other immediately … in this instance, a component with a switch in our primary data centre suffered a very rare partial failure which prevented the backup switch from activating.”

    (tags: visa outages post-mortems fail europe dcs)

  • 10-hour Microsoft Azure outage in Europe

    Service availability issue in North Europe Summary of impact: From 17:44 on 19 Jun 2018 to 04:30 UTC on 20 Jun 2018 customers using Azure services in North Europe may have experienced connection failures when attempting to access resources hosted in the region. Customers leveraging a subset of Azure services may have experienced residual impact for a sustained period post-mitigation of the underlying issue. We are communicating with these customers directly in their Management Portal. Preliminary root cause: Engineers identified that an underlying temperature issue in one of the datacenters in the region triggered an infrastructure alert, which in turn caused a structured shutdown of a subset of Storage and Network devices in this location to ensure hardware and data integrity. Mitigation: Engineers addressed the temperature issue, and performed a structured recovery of the affected devices and the affected downstream services.
    The specific services were: ‘Virtual Machines, Storage, SQL Database, Key Vault, App Service, Site Recovery, Automation, Service Bus, Event Hubs, Data Factory, Backup, API management, Log Analytics, Application Insight, Azure Batch Azure Search, Redis Cache, Media Services, IoT Hub, Stream Analytics, Power BI, Azure Monitor, Azure Cosmo DB or Logic Apps in North Europe’. Holy cow

    (tags: microsoft outages fail azure post-mortems cooling-systems datacenters)

  • Here’s a list of organizations that are mobilizing to help separated immigrant children | The Texas Tribune

    We’ve compiled a list of organizations that are mobilizing to try and help children that have been separated from their parents at the Texas-Mexico border.

    (tags: texas children immigration family-separations us-politics usa charity)

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Links for 2018-06-19

  • Save on your AWS bill with Kubernetes Ingress

    decent into to Kubernetes Ingress and the Ambassador microservices API gateway built on Envoy Proxy

    (tags: envoy proxying kubernetes aws elb load-balancing ingress ambassador ops)

  • Is America Ready for a Global Pandemic? – The Atlantic

    The egg-based [vaccine manufacture] system depends on chickens, which are themselves vulnerable to flu. And since viruses can mutate within the eggs, the resulting vaccines don’t always match the strains that are circulating. But vaccine makers have few incentives to use anything else. Switching to a different process would cost billions, and why bother? Flu vaccines are low-margin products, which only about 45 percent of Americans get in a normal year. So when demand soars during a pandemic, the supply is not set to cope. American hospitals, which often operate unnervingly close to full capacity, likewise struggled with the surge of patients. Pediatric units were hit especially hard by H1N1, and staff became exhausted from continuously caring for sick children. Hospitals almost ran out of the life-support units that sustain people whose lungs and hearts start to fail. The health-care system didn’t break, but it came too close for comfort—especially for what turned out to be a training-wheels pandemic. The 2009 H1N1 strain killed merely 0.03 percent of those it infected; by contrast, the 1918 strain had killed 1 to 3 percent, and the H7N9 strain currently circulating in China has a fatality rate of 40 percent. That the U.S. could be so ill-prepared for flu, of all things, should be deeply concerning. The country has a dedicated surveillance web, antiviral drugs, and an infrastructure for making and deploying flu vaccines. None of that exists for the majority of other emerging infectious diseases.

    (tags: vaccines health diseases h1n1 flu pandemics future scary)

  • Here’s how you can fight family separation at the border

    Slate’s list of organisations fighting this horrible policy

    (tags: family-separation law immigration us-politics america)

  • In America, Naturalized Citizens No Longer Have an Assumption of Permanence | The New Yorker

    Michael Bars, the U.S.C.I.S. spokesman, told the Washington Examiner that the agency is hiring dozens of lawyers for the new task force. The mandate, according to both Cissna and Bars, is to find people who deliberately lied on their citizenship applications, not those who made innocent mistakes. The distinction is fuzzier than one might assume. Back in 1989, I had to make a decision about whether to lie on my citizenship application. At the time, immigration law banned “aliens afflicted with sexual deviation,” among others suffering from “psychopathic personality,” from entry to the United States. I had come to this country as a fourteen-year-old, in 1981, but I had been aware of my “sexual deviation” at the time, and this technically meant that I should not have entered the country. [….] Over the years, the applications for both citizenship and permanent residence have grown ever longer, filling with questions that seem to be designed to be used against the applicant. Question 26 on the green-card application, for example, reads, “Have you EVER committed a crime of any kind (even if you were not arrested, cited, charged with, or tried for that crime)?” … The question does not specify whether it refers to a crime under current U.S. law or the laws of the country in which the crime might have been committed. In the Soviet Union of my youth, it was illegal to possess foreign currency or to spend the night anywhere where you were not registered to live. In more than seventy countries, same-sex sexual activity is still illegal. On closer inspection, just about every naturalized citizen might look like an outlaw, or a liar.

    (tags: law immigration us-politics america citizenship naturalization history)

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Links for 2018-06-18

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Links for 2018-06-15

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Links for 2018-06-14

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Links for 2018-06-13

  • Trans kids & the people who hate them

    Research (Mental Health of Transgender Children Who Are Supported in Their Identities, Olson et al. 2016) has shown that children whose preferred gender identity is accepted by family and friends have no worse mental health outcomes than other children. But those who are not accepted are much more likely to have mental health issues, self harm or take their own lives. We can take from this that acceptance causes no harm, but non-acceptance causes harm?—?so why are so many people angry with parents for accepting their trans kids?

    (tags: trans children kids parenting society gender identity)

  • The Language of the Trump Administration Is the Language of Domestic Violence | The New Yorker

    God this is so awful.

    Gaslighting, it needs not be said, is Trump’s preferred mode of communication, and it is encoded in the family-separation policy itself: once their parents have been taken into custody, the children are reclassified as “unaccompanied minors,” their parents effectively disappeared. On Friday, NPR reported on three Guatemalan mothers who were on trial in Alpine, Texas, after D.H.S. flew their children—ages eight, eight, and nine—more than two thousand miles away, to a shelter in Manhattan. “There is no mention in the Border Patrol narrative,” an immigration lawyer told NPR, “that these women had children with them when they entered the United States.” Can you prove this child is yours? Do you even have children? Well, then, where are they?

    (tags: children donald-trump new-yorker dhs asylum-seekers)

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Links for 2018-06-11

  • Woman’s Tongue Gets Inseminated By Squid After Eating Undercooked Seafood | IFLScience

    As documented in a 2012 edition of the Journal of Parasitology, the foreign bodies were identified as squid spermatophores (sperm-containing capsules) belonging to a Japanese flying squid (Todarodes pacificus). Rather foolishly, the woman had not removed the internal organs of the squid and proceeded to only parboil it for a few seconds before eating it, meaning its spermatophores were still alive and well. “As soon as she put a piece into her mouth, she felt like many ‘bugs’ were biting her oral mucosa,” the study reads. “She experienced severe sharp pain and spat out the entire portion without swallowing. Despite that, she could feel many small squirming white bug-like organisms penetrating her oral mucosa.”
    NOOOOOPE

    (tags: nope argh disgusting gross squid sperm parasitology spermatophores korea tongue)

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Links for 2018-06-08

  • Amazon EKS is now GA – Official Discussion Thread and Ask the Experts

    r/aws discussion thread on EKS now that it’s GA

    (tags: eks ga aws kubernetes ops architecture clustering docker)

  • NTSB: Autopilot steered Tesla car toward traffic barrier before deadly crash

    This is the Tesla self-crashing car in action. Remember how it works. It visually recognizes rear ends of cars using a BW camera and Mobileye (at least in early models) vision software. It also recognizes lane lines and tries to center between them. It has a low resolution radar system which ranges moving metallic objects like cars but ignores stationary obstacles. And there are some side-mounted sonars for detecting vehicles a few meters away on the side, which are not relevant here. The system performed as designed. The white lines of the gore (the painted wedge) leading to this very shallow off ramp become far enough apart that they look like a lane.[1] If the vehicle ever got into the gore area, it would track as if in a lane, right into the crash barrier. It won’t stop for the crash barrier, because it doesn’t detect stationary obstacles. Here, it sped up, because there was no longer a car ahead. Then it lane-followed right into the crash barrier. That’s the fundamental problem here. These vehicles will run into stationary obstacles at full speed with no warning or emergency braking at all. That is by design. This is not an implementation bug or sensor failure. It follows directly from the decision to ship “Autopilot” with that sensor suite and set of capabilities.

    (tags: tesla fail safety self-driving autopilot cars driving sonar radar sensors ai)

  • 8thref.ie

    An archive of 489,506 Irish abortion tweets from the period around the 8th referendum in Ireland

    (tags: ireland history analytics archives archival repealthe8th)

  • Software Development and GDPR

    You could think, as a developer, that the lawyers worry about this kind of fine-grained issue. They don’t. This is one of those situations where they say, well, here’s the risk, you have to make a decision, document it, and be ready to back that up in front of a judge should the soup hit the fan. In this particular case it’s straightforward enough. Are you in control of the presence of data in your database? Yes. It’s up to you to delete it when requested. Are you in control of the data on your harddrive? Yes. It’s up to you to delete it when requested. Are you in control of the operating system implementation or database implementation of deletion? No. Could you get the data back if you wanted to? Yes – but that’s not part of your usual run of business, so why would you explicitly do that? What if some bad dude steals your harddrive and then rummages through it? Ok we are getting a little far-fetched here for most businesses that are not keeping special category data, but if this does happen, then you have failed in your security controls. I guess my overall point here is that GDPR Compliance is a continuum, not a tickbox. You want to be doing the best you can with it and document why you can go so far and not further. The companies that will be getting the big legislative fines are the guys that are willy-nilly exporting special category data out of the EEA en masse without the knowledge of the people associated with that data. The rest of us just need to muddle along as best we can.

    (tags: gdpr privacy dev tech coding data-protection law eu storage)

  • What to Do When a Loved One Is Severely Depressed – The New York Times

    This is good advice (or seems to be, at least)

    (tags: depression health friends sympathy nytimes medicine advice)

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Links for 2018-06-06

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Links for 2018-06-05

  • How Ireland’s Abortion Referendum Became a Test Case for Democracy in the Social Media Age

    Exploring the “fake news” merchants attempting to subvert the Irish abortion referendum.

    On 4chan, a number of users who identified as Irish attempted to infiltrate the online conversation and tarnish the pro-repeal campaign. Operation Zyklon encouraged users to spread awareness of a connection between Amnesty International Ireland and the philanthropist George Soros, who donated €137,000 to Amnesty’s My Body My Rights campaign in 2016. Operation Trojan Horse saw users sharing templates of fake pro-repeal posters with extreme captions such as, “There should be no limit on abortion up to birth”. Users were encouraged to print and spread these posters around college campuses and share them across social media. A particularly curious operation called Operation Drunken Monkey aimed to stifle student voter turnout by organizing club nights on May 24 in the hope that students would be too hungover to vote the following day.

    (tags: 4chan repealthe8th abortion referenda politics fake-news amnesty)

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Links for 2018-06-02

  • How Ireland Beat Dark Ads – Foreign Policy

    In practice, while these recognizable attempts to disrupt the democratic debate with microtargeted ads, bot activity, and misinformation were active, they appear to have been relatively ineffective and may even have turned voters away from those employing them. Given the battleground online discourse has become in democracies across the world, this small country’s resistance to it may offer some cause for hope. The resilience offered by the small size and close-knit nature of the Irish electorate may be difficult to reproduce in larger democracies. But the active measures taken by media, volunteer groups, and campaigners against potentially corrosive techniques can be a powerful inspiration.
    +1 — it’s heartening that we were able to defeat these 21st century dirty tricks after the damage they did with Trump and Brexit.

    (tags: brexit elections trump fake-news propaganda bots dark-ads facebook social-media repealthe8th referenda abortion ireland repeal-shield twitter)

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Links for 2018-06-01

  • ‘Abroad For Yes’ Helped Irish Voters Get Home for Abortion Referendum

    This was one of the most amazing things I saw during the referendum campaign, alright! I had the pleasure of helping to fund several journeys home to vote:

    Rebecca Wilson, one of the Abroad for Yes co-founders, said she and two other women, her sister Lauren Wilson and Hannah McNulty Madden, decided to launch the group when the referendum date was announced in late March. Wilson was visiting Helsinki, where Lauren and McNulty Madden are students. After realizing Lauren and McNulty Madden weren’t eligible for a postal vote, they looked up the cost of flights and panicked. On Twitter, however, McNulty Madden noticed that people were expressing interest in helping people who wanted to go home to Ireland but couldn’t afford it. The women decided to set up the Abroad for Yes Facebook group as a community for supporters of repealing the eighth amendment to gather and find one another. Wilson thought they’d help fund travel for maybe 10 people total, but in the first day of the group’s existence funded 5 trips, including for Lauren and McNulty Madden. After traveling back to Dublin, Wilson and the group continued to help others, enlisting three other group administrators. Wilson said they don’t have an exact figure, but she believes they’ve helped raise at least 30,000 euros.

    (tags: ireland repealthe8th abortion referenda abroad-for-yes t4y facebook)

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Links for 2018-05-31

  • How to revoke all ad permissions from Oath GDPR pages

    in summary:

    document.querySelectorAll(‘input[type=checkbox]’).forEach(val => val.checked = false)
    (via stx)

    (tags: via:stx oath gdpr privacy tracking ads)

  • A first draft of history

    For journalists it is always easier to point to the politician with the pearly-white smile and the pithy sound-byte as the harbinger of change – they attract the cameras and the microphones and make us turn our backs on the truth. It’s like we cannot – or will not – believe that change can be brought about by ordinary people doing extraordinary things, no matter how often we see it. It’s like we need the fallacy that our leaders are somehow better than us, somehow in control to sleep safely at night, when in fact much of our insomnia and worry is their creation. My first draft of history is this: “On Friday May 25 2018, the women of Ireland repealed the Eighth Amendment.” And that’s it. It may have taken them 35 years, and in that time they were scorned and laughed at and belittled and abused, right up until Saturday morning and in some cases beyond, and yet they did it. Nothing else is relevant. Through the day I saw women, from teenagers who had just cast their first vote to political veterans who started out on this trail 35 years previously, gradually realising what they had done. One by one, it dawned on them the immense power that they now wield. They banded together, and over the weeks and months and years, they changed a country. And they’re not done yet.
    Amen to that. Resist the rewriting of history — this was a revolutionary moment for Ireland, and in some ways, the world.

    (tags: ireland history repealthe8th abortion referenda journalism)

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Links for 2018-05-30

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Links for 2018-05-29

  • _Random Slicing: Efficient and Scalable Data Placement for Large-Scale Storage Systems_, ACM Transactions on Storage, July 2014

    ‘The ever-growing amount of data requires highly scalable storage solutions. The most flexible approach is to use storage pools that can be expanded and scaled down by adding or removing storage devices. To make this approach usable, it is necessary to provide a solution to locate data items in such a dynamic environment. This article presents and evaluates the Random Slicing strategy, which incorporates lessons learned from table-based, rule-based, and pseudo-randomized hashing strategies and is able to provide a simple and efficient strategy that scales up to handle exascale data. Random Slicing keeps a small table with information about previous storage system insert and remove operations, drastically reducing the required amount of randomness while delivering a perfect load distribution.’

    (tags: randomness architecture algorithms storage hashing slicing scaling)

  • Archiving the 8th

    ‘archiving & collecting the 2018 referendum’:

    This site was set up as a voluntary effort to answer some of these questions, and to quickly compile information on all known archiving and collecting activities happening nationwide, on both sides of the referendum campaign. It’s still very much a work in progress but the aspirations include: to provide an immediate, temporary resource to consolidate information on who’s archiving the 8th, and offer contact details share resources and suggestions, particularly for people wishing to donate material identify potential gaps or opportunities in collecting support networking of folks around the country engaged in archiving the 8th share models of protocols and examples of other ‘rapid response’ collecting elsewhere

    (tags: repealthe8th history archives archival 2018 referenda)

  • I am a computer — docubyte

    absolutely glorious classic microcomputing GIFs

    (tags: micros computing history apple ibm gifs images art)

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Links for 2018-05-28

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Links for 2018-05-24

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Links for 2018-05-23

  • ACLU to Amazon: Get out of the surveillance business

    This is a fair point from the ACLU:

    Already, Rekognition is in use in Florida and Oregon. Government agencies in California and Arizona have sought information about it, too. And Amazon didn’t just sell Rekognition to law enforcement, it’s actively partnering with them to ensure that authorities can fully utilize Rekognition’s capabilities. Amazon has branded itself as customer-centric, opposed secret government surveillance, and has a CEO who publicly supported First Amendment freedoms and spoke out against the discriminatory Muslim Ban. Yet, Amazon is powering dangerous surveillance that poses a grave threat to customers and communities already unjustly targeted in the current political climate. We must make it clear to Amazon that we won’t stand by and let it pad its bottom line by selling out our civil rights.

    (tags: aclu amazon rekognition facial-recognition faces law privacy data-privacy civil-rights)

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Links for 2018-05-21

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Links for 2018-05-18

  • EC2 Instance Update – C5 Instances with Local NVMe Storage (C5d)

    With a 25% to 50% improvement in price-performance over the C4 instances, the C5 instances are designed for applications like batch and log processing, distributed and or real-time analytics, high-performance computing (HPC), ad serving, highly scalable multiplayer gaming, and video encoding. Some of these applications can benefit from access to high-speed, ultra-low latency local storage. For example, video encoding, image manipulation, and other forms of media processing often necessitates large amounts of I/O to temporary storage. While the input and output files are valuable assets and are typically stored as Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) objects, the intermediate files are expendable. Similarly, batch and log processing runs in a race-to-idle model, flushing volatile data to disk as fast as possible in order to make full use of compute resources.
    Very nice!

    (tags: ec2 instance-types ops storage hardware aws)

  • Thanos: Prometheus at Scale

    interesting

    (tags: devops monitoring tools prometheus ops metrics)

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Links for 2018-05-17

  • Canaries As Poisonous Gas Detectors

    n the late 1890s, [John] Haldane began experimenting on small animals like white mice and canaries [to detect carbon monoxide]. Small animals have faster metabolism rate, and hence show the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning much earlier even in the presence of small quantities of the noxious gas. Canaries are especially good at detecting toxins in the air because of their specialized respiratory system.

    (tags: carbon-monoxide gas safety canaries coal mining mines respiration gas-detectors)

  • Completely Silent Computer

    This computer makes no noise when it starts up.  It makes no noise when it shuts down.  It makes no noise when it idles.  It makes no noise when it’s under heavy load.  It makes no noise when it’s reading or writing data.  It can’t be heard in a regular room during the day.  It can’t be heard in a completely quiet house in the middle of the night.  It can’t be heard from 1m away.  It can’t be heard from 1cm away.  It can’t be heard — period.  It’s taken nearly 30 years to reach this point, but I’ve finally arrived.  The journey is over and it feels great. If you are after a silent — not just quiet, but silent — daily driver, then I strongly recommend a passively-cooled case, heat pipes and solid state drives.  Eliminate the moving parts (e.g. fans, HDDs) and you eliminate the noise — it’s not that complicated.  It also doesn’t need to be really expensive (my system requirements were not ‘average’ so please don’t infer from this post that all DB4-based systems are as expensive).  Silence (and a perfectly respectable computer) can easily be had for half the price.

    (tags: diy hardware pc silence quiet-hardware cooling fanless amd)

  • Docker is the dangerous gamble which we will regret : devops

    The article this Reddit thread links to is garbage clickbait, but the responses are insightful and much better

    (tags: reddit ops containerization docker contrarians rkt)

  • Tracking Firm LocationSmart Leaked Location Data for Customers of All Major U.S. Mobile Carriers Without Consent in Real Time Via Its Web Site

    LocationSmart, a U.S. based company that acts as an aggregator of real-time data about the precise location of mobile phone devices, has been leaking this information to anyone via a buggy component of its Web site — without the need for any password or other form of authentication or authorization — KrebsOnSecurity has learned. The company took the vulnerable service offline early this afternoon after being contacted by KrebsOnSecurity, which verified that it could be used to reveal the location of any AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon phone in the United States to an accuracy of within a few hundred yards.

    (tags: locationsmart verizon sprint t-mobile att brian-krebs security location-tracking tracking mobile phones location)

  • Bitcoin’s energy use got studied, and you libertarian nerds look even worse than usual | Grist

    This is awful. What a waste:

    Bitcoin’s energy footprint has more than doubled since Grist first wrote about it six months ago. It’s expected to double again by the end of the year, according to a new peer-reviewed study out Wednesday. And if that happens, bitcoin would be gobbling up 0.5 percent of the world’s electricity, about as much as the Netherlands. That’s a troubling trajectory, especially for a world that should be working overtime to root out energy waste and fight climate change. By late next year, bitcoin could be consuming more electricity than all the world’s solar panels currently produce — about 1.8 percent of global electricity, according to a simple extrapolation of the study’s predictions. That would effectively erase decades of progress on renewable energy.

    (tags: energy bitcoin blockchain cryptocurrencies money climate-change planet green)

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Links for 2018-05-16

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Links for 2018-05-15

  • GDPR will pop the adtech bubble

    Without adtech, the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) would never have happened. But the GDPR did happen, and as a result websites all over the world are suddenly posting notices about their changed privacy policies, use of cookies, and opt-in choices for “relevant” or “interest-based” (translation: tracking-based) advertising. Email lists are doing the same kinds of things. “Sunrise day” for the GDPR is 25 May. That’s when the EU can start smacking fines on violators. Simply put, your site or service is a violator if it extracts or processes personal data without personal permission. Real permission, that is. You know, where you specifically say “Hell yeah, I wanna be tracked everywhere.” Of course what I just said greatly simplifies what the GDPR actually utters, in bureaucratic legalese. The GDPR is also full of loopholes only snakes can thread; but the spirit of the law is clear, and the snakes will be easy to shame, even if they don’t get fined. (And legitimate interest—an actual loophole in the GDPR, may prove hard to claim.) Toward the aftermath, the main question is What will be left of advertising—and what it supports—after the adtech bubble pops?

    (tags: advertising europe law privacy gdpr tracking data-privacy)

  • Attacks against GPG signed APT repositories – Packagecloud Blog

    It is a common misconception that simply signing your packages and repository metadata with GPG is enough to create a secure APT repository. This is false. Many of the attacks outlined in the paper and this blog post are effective against GPG-signed APT repositories. GPG signing Debian packages themselves does nothing, as explained below. The easiest way to prevent the attacks covered below is to always serve your APT repository over TLS; no exceptions.
    This is excellent research. My faith in GPG sigs on packages is well shaken.

    (tags: apt security debian packaging gpg pgp packages dpkg apt-get ops)

  • “Mudslinging” campaigns drive down voting rates, particularly among the unsure

    Does negative campaigning influence the likelihood of voting in elections? Our study of U.S. Senate campaigns indicates the answer is “yes.” We find that people distinguish between useful negative information presented in an appropriate manner and irrelevant and harsh mudslinging. As the proportion of legitimate criticisms increases in campaigns, citizens become more likely to cast ballots. When campaigns degenerate into unsubstantiated and shrill attacks, voters tend to stay home. Finally, we find that individuals vary in their sensitivity to the tenor of campaigns. In particular, the tone is more consequential for independents, for those with less interest in politics, and for those with less knowledge about politics.
    (via Mark Dennehy)

    (tags: politics strategy ireland referenda via:markdennehy dirty-tricks)

  • Abortion – the street demonstrations in pictures

    There’s me, marching after the X Case in 1992; bookmarking for posterity and my own scrapbook! Repeal the 8th! ‘1992: A demonstration against the High Court injunction forbidding a 14-year-old alleged rape victim from obtaining an abortion in Britain. Photograph: The Irish Times’

    (tags: 1992 1990s history ireland x-case abortion repealthe8th law)

  • Dickens invented “gammon” as a slur in 1838, in ‘Nicholas Nickleby’

    This is thoroughly brexiteering stuff:

    The time had been, when this burst of enthusiasm would have been cheered to the very echo; but now, the deputation received it with chilling coldness. The general impression seemed to be, that as an explanation of Mr Gregsbury’s political conduct, it did not enter quite enough into detail; and one gentleman in the rear did not scruple to remark aloud, that, for his purpose, it savoured rather too much of a ‘gammon’ tendency. ‘The meaning of that term — gammon,’ said Mr Gregsbury, ‘is unknown to me. If it means that I grow a little too fervid, or perhaps even hyperbolical, in extolling my native land, I admit the full justice of the remark. I AM proud of this free and happy country. My form dilates, my eye glistens, my breast heaves, my heart swells, my bosom burns, when I call to mind her greatness and her glory.’

    (tags: brexit funny gammon charles-dickens history gb politics uk-politics uk)

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Links for 2018-05-08

  • The Tidelift Subscription

    The core idea of the Tidelift Subscription is to pay for “promises about the future” of your software components.   When you incorporate an open source library into your application, you need to know not just that you can use it as-is today, but that it will be kept secure, properly licensed, and well maintained in the future. The Tidelift Subscription creates a direct financial incentive for the individual maintainers of the software stacks you use to follow through on those commitments. Aligning everyone’s interests—professional development teams and maintainers alike. Critically, the Tidelift Subscriptions for React, Angular, and Vue.js cover not just the core libraries, but the vast set of dependencies and libraries typically used in these stacks. For example, a basic React web application pulls in over 1,000 distinct npm packages as dependencies. The Tidelift Subscription covers that full depth of packages which originate from all parts of the open source community, beyond the handful of core packages published by the React engineering team itself.

    (tags: tidelift open-source libraries dependencies coding)

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Links for 2018-05-03

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Links for 2018-05-02

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Links for 2018-05-01

  • Silicon Valley Can’t Be Trusted With Our History

    the internet is messing with human cognition in ways that will take decades to fully understand. Some researchers believe it is altering the way we create memories. In one study, researchers told a group of people to copy a list of facts onto a computer. They told half the group that the facts would be saved when they finished and the other half that the facts would be erased. Those who thought that the facts would be saved were much worse at remembering them afterward. Instead of relying on our friends and neighbors — or on books, for that matter — we have started outsourcing our memories to the internet. So what happens if those memories are erased — and if the very platforms responsible for their storage are the ones doing the erasing? That scenario is a threat everywhere, but particularly in countries where the authorities are most aggressively controlling speech and editing history. We say the internet never forgets, but internet freedom isn’t evenly distributed: When tech companies have expanded into parts of the world where information suppression is the norm, they have proven willing to work with local censors. Those censors will be emboldened by new efforts at platform regulation in the US and Europe, just as authoritarian regimes have already enthusiastically repurposed the rhetoric of “fake news.” The reach and power of tech platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are so new and strange that we’ve barely begun formulating a response. But we can learn from the activists already doing it; from Mosireen, or the team behind the Syrian Archive — six people, with a budget of $96,000, who are preserving thousands of hours of footage from their country’s civil war. The archive recently published the Chemical Weapons Database, documenting 221 chemical weapons attacks with 861 verified videos, implicating the Assad regime in a pattern of war crimes and putting the lie to armchair investigators helping to propagate conspiracy theories in the West. One of its cofounders recently told the Intercept that he spends nearly all his time making sure videos aren’t deleted from the big tech platforms before he gets a chance to download them.

    (tags: censorship syria chemical-weapons assad history youtube video archival mosireen the-syrian-archive archives memory facebook)

  • I tried leaving Facebook. I couldn’t – The Verge

    Facebook events, Facebook pages, Facebook photos, and Facebook videos are for many people an integral part of the church picnic, the Christmas party, the class reunion, the baby shower. (The growing scourge of gender reveal parties with their elaborate “reveal” rituals and custom-made cakes seems particularly designed to complement documentation on social media). The completeness of Facebook allows people to create better substitutes for in-person support groups in a wide range of ever-narrowing demographics — from casual interests like Instant Pot recipes for Korean food to heavy life-altering circumstances like rare forms of cancer. Of all people, I know why I shouldn’t trust Facebook, why my presence on its network contributes to the collective problem of its monopolistic hold on people. Everyone is on Facebook because everyone is on Facebook. And because everyone is on Facebook, even the people who aren’t are having their data collected in shadow profiles. My inaction affects even the people who have managed to stay away. I know this, I barely use Facebook, I don’t even like Facebook, and I find it nearly impossible to leave.

    (tags: privacy facebook deletefacebook social-networking social life social-media data-privacy)

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Links for 2018-04-30

  • Europe fires back at ICANN’s delusional plan to overhaul Whois for GDPR by next, er, year • The Register

    So was it European law experts Hamilton that wrongly advised ICANN that it could request for a “moratorium” over the new law until it came up with a new solution? It seems unlikely given their expertise and the fact it was them that first warned ICANN that it had wrongly persuaded itself that it was not affected by the new law. What seems more probable is that ICANN’s staff and management board simply persuaded themselves that they could stall for time for no reason other than the fact that it would be convenient for them.

    (tags: icann fail gdpr whois law regulation eu)

  • Warning signs for TSB’s IT meltdown were clear a year ago – insider | Business | The Guardian

    The team behind the development were celebrating. In a LinkedIn post since removed, those involved in the migration were describing themselves as “champions”, a “hell of a team” and were pictured raising glasses of bubbly to cheers of “TSB transfer done and dusted”. However, only hours after the switch was flicked, systems crumpled and up to 1.9m TSB customers who use internet and mobile banking were locked out. “I could have put money on the rollout being the disaster it has been, with evidence of major code changes on the hoof over last weekend and into this week,” the insider said. Customers reported receiving texts saying their cards had been used abroad, that they had discovered thousands of pounds in their accounts they did not have – or that mortgage accounts had vanished, multiplied or changed currency. One bemused account holder showed his TSB banking app recording a direct debit paid to Sky Digital 81 years from now. Some saw details of other people’s accounts and holidaymakers complained that they had been left unable to pay restaurant and hotel bills.
    What an incredible shitfest.

    (tags: banks tsb fail banking uk sabadell)

  • The brave new world of genetic genealogy – MIT Technology Review

    The combination of DNA and genealogy is a potentially a huge force for good in the world, but it must be used responsibly. In all cases where public databases like GEDmatch are used, the potential for good must be balanced against the potential for harm. In cases involving adoptee searches, missing persons, and unidentified bodies, the potential for good usually markedly outweighs the potential for harm. But the situation is not so clear-cut when it comes to the use of the methodology to identify suspects in rape and murder cases. The potential for harm is much higher under these circumstances, because of the risk of misuse, misapplication or misinterpretation of the data leading to wrongful identification of suspects. The stakes are too high for the GEDmatch database to be used by the police without oversight by a court of law.  However, we are not looking at a dystopian future. In the long run the public sharing of DNA data, when done responsibly, is likely to have huge benefits for society. If a criminal can be caught not by his own DNA but through a match with one of his cousins he will be less likely to commit a crime in the first place. With the move to whole genome sequencing in forensic cases in the future, it will be possible to make better use of genetic genealogy methods and databases to identify missing people, the remains of soldiers from World War One and World War Two as well as more recent wars, and casualties from natural and manmade disasters. We will be able to give many more unidentified people the dignity of their identity in death. But we each control our own DNA and we should all be able to decide what, if anything, we wish to share.

    (tags: gedmatch genealogy dna police murder rape dna-matching privacy data-privacy)

  • For the first time, parents will be able to limit YouTube Kids to human-reviewed channels and recommendations | TechCrunch

    FINALLY. what took so long

    (tags: youtube google parents parenting kids apps)

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Links for 2018-04-29

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Links for 2018-04-26

  • twitter thread on incel culture, the “manosphere” and the rest of that toxic garbage

    For the past little while, I’ve been working on a piece about Toronto’s relationship to the alt-right, especially the “manosphere.” Unfortunately that research has become relevant. I’m going to share as much as I can here for people who may not be familiar with these movements.

    (tags: incels manosphere 4chan hate internet pua kill-all-normies)

  • TheJournal.ie FactCheck is first Irish outlet to officially tackle misinformation on Facebook

    TheJournal.ie FactCheck project has signed on to carry out third-party fact-checking on Facebook. This will involved testing the veracity of articles posted on the platform and attaching a rating and contextual information to contested items.
    Awesome. nice one TJ

    (tags: the-journal fact-checking facebook fake-news facts journalism)

  • The Joy Reid fight reinforces how critical the Internet Archive is to modern politics – The Washington Post

    What the Wayback Machine provides, in essence, is a third-party archiving service that largely escapes the influence of the content creators. If you publish a blog on a blogging platform (or a tweet on Twitter, etc.), you still have the power to go in and remove or alter what you’ve written. The Wayback Machine makes it much more difficult to cover your tracks, should you wish to. As more people who grew up creating content for the Web enter positions of authority in media and politics, that archive becomes more important. If the Wayback Machine hadn’t indexed Reid’s site, her words might have been lost. Or if someone had stumbled onto her old blog post, her expert’s argument that the post was fraudulent in some way might carry more weight. But with that index timestamped more than a decade ago, the argument is substantially undercut. Reid’s blog, though, is not currently available on the Wayback Machine. Her old blog updated the file on its server telling automated systems what can and can’t be indexed, a set of instructions that the Wayback Machine’s system respects as it gathers information from around the Web. By changing that file, Reid’s team essentially pulled a curtain down on her past writing.

    (tags: internet-archive archival history joy-reid web blogging wayback-machine robots.txt)

  • keiichishima/yacryptopan

    ‘Yet another Crypto-PAn implementation for Python’:

    This package provides a function to anonymize IP addresses keeping their prefix consistency. This program is based on the paper “Prefix-Preserving IP Address Anonymization: Measurement-based Security Evaluation and a New Cryptography-based Scheme” written by Jun Xu, Jinliang Fan, Mostafa H. Ammar, and Sue B. Moon. The detailed explanation can be found in [Xu2002]. This package supports both IPv4 and IPv6 anonymization.
    (via Alexandre Dulaunoy)

    (tags: via:adulau anonymization ip-addresses internet ipv4 ipv6 security crypto python crypto-pan)

  • The Handmaid’s Tale doesn’t quite get modern American misogyny – The Verge

    Soft biological determinism doesn’t inevitably lead to harsh oppression, but that’s not the point. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood imagined how seeds of xenophobia, misogyny, and authoritarianism could utterly corrupt a popular ideology with many well-meaning supporters — because a Gilead can grow in any group that lets its principles take root. That includes Evangelical Christianity, but also a modern secular rationalism that’s being co-opted by white male supremacists, speaking the language of science and logic. It’s not hard to envision a world that’s as cruel to women as Gilead, which is why watching The Handmaid’s Tale is so exhausting. But despite all its brutality, the show softens a more painful truth: misogyny doesn’t just persist, it evolves.

    (tags: handmaids-tale margaret-atwood science-fiction sf misogyny incels 4chan)

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Links for 2018-04-24

  • Parallelizing S3 Workloads with s5cmd

    nice parallel download/upload tool for S3, developed by Peak Games, open source, in Go

    (tags: golang go s5cmd open-source tools cli s3 aws)

  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics Tracked People By Their Mobile Device Data.

    The ABS claims population estimates have a “major data gap” and so they’ve been a busy bee figuring out a way to track crowd movement. Their solution? Mobile device user data. “…with its near-complete coverage of the population, mobile device data is now seen as a feasible way to estimate temporary populations,” states a 2017 conference extract for a talk by ABS Demographer Andrew Howe. While the “Estimated Resident Population” (ERP) is Australia’s official population measure, the ABS felt the pre-existing data wasn’t ‘granular’ enough. What the ABS really wanted to know was where you’re moving, hour by hour, through the CBD, educational hubs, tourist areas. Howe’s ABS pilot study of mobile device user data creates population estimates with the help of a trial engagement with an unnamed telco company. The data includes age and sex breakdowns. The study ran between the 18th April to 1st May 2016. [….] Electronic Frontiers Australia board member Justin Warren also pointed out that while there are beneficial uses for this kind of information, “…the ABS should be treading much more carefully than it is. The ABS damaged its reputation with its bungled management of the 2016 Census, and with its failure to properly consult with civil society about its decision to retain names and addresses. Now we discover that the ABS is running secret tracking experiments on the population?” “Even if the ABS’ motives are benign, this behaviour?—?making ethically dubious decisions without consulting the public it is experimenting on?—?continues to damage the once stellar reputation of the ABS.” “This kind of population tracking has a dark history. During World War II, the US Census Bureau used this kind of tracking information to round up Japanese-Americans for internment. Census data was used extensively by Nazi Germany to target specific groups of people. The ABS should be acutely aware of these historical abuses, and the current tensions within society that mirror those earlier, dark days all too closely.”

    (tags: abs australia tracking location-data privacy data-privacy mobile)

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Links for 2018-04-23

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Links for 2018-04-20

  • Palantir Knows Everything About You

    This is so fucking dystopian:

    Operation Laser has made L.A. cops more surgical — and, according to community activists, unrelenting. Once targets are enmeshed in a [Palantir] spidergram, they’re stuck. Manuel Rios, 22, lives in the back of his grandmother’s house at the top of a hill in East L.A., in the heart of the city’s gang area. […] He grew up surrounded by friends who joined Eastside 18, the local affiliate of the 18th Street gang, one of the largest criminal syndicates in Southern California. Rios says he was never “jumped in”—initiated into 18. He spent years addicted to crystal meth and was once arrested for possession of a handgun and sentenced to probation. But except for a stint in county jail for a burglary arrest inside a city rec center, he’s avoided further trouble and says he kicked his meth habit last year. In 2016, Rios was sitting in a parked car with an Eastside 18 friend when a police car pulled up. His buddy ran, pursued by the cops, but Rios stayed put. “Why should I run? I’m not a gang member,” he says over steak and eggs at the IHOP near his home. The police returned and handcuffed him. One of them took his picture with a cellphone. “Welcome to the gang database!” the officer said. Since then he’s been stopped more than a dozen times, he says, and told that if he doesn’t like it he should move. He has nowhere to go. His girlfriend just had a baby girl, and he wants to be around for them. “They say you’re in the system, you can’t lie to us,” he says. “I tell them, ‘How can I be in the hood if I haven’t got jumped in? Can’t you guys tell people who bang and who don’t?’ They go by their facts, not the real facts.” The police, on autopilot with Palantir, are driving Rios toward his gang friends, not away from them, worries Mariella Saba, a neighbor and community organizer who helped him get off meth. When whole communities like East L.A. are algorithmically scraped for pre-crime suspects, data is destiny, says Saba. “These are systemic processes. When people are constantly harassed in a gang context, it pushes them to join. They internalize being told they’re bad.”

    (tags: palantir surveillance privacy precrime spidergrams future la gangs justice algorithms data-protection data-privacy policing harrassment)

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Links for 2018-04-19

  • _Building a Bw-Tree Takes More Than Just Buzz Words_, SIGMOD 2018

    ‘An account of our disappointing journey to build a open-source lock-free Bw-Tree for the Peloton DBMS.’ ‘In 2013, Microsoft Research proposed the Bw-Tree (humorously termed the “Buzz Word Tree”), a lock-free index that provides high throughput for transactional database workloads in SQL Server’s Hekaton engine. The Bw-Tree avoids locks by appending delta record to tree nodes and using an indirection layer that allows it to atomically update physical pointers using compare-and-swap (CaS). Correctly implementing this techniques requires careful attention to detail. Unfortunately, the Bw-Tree papers from Microsoft are missing important details and the source code has not been released. This paper has two contributions: First, it is the missing guide for how to build a lock-free Bw-Tree. We clarify missing points in Microsoft’s original design documents and then present techniques to improve the index’s performance. Although our focus here is on the Bw-Tree, many of our methods apply more broadly to designing and implementing future lock-free in-memory data structures. Our experimental evaluation shows that our optimized variant achieves 1.1–2.5× better performance than the original Microsoft proposal for highly concurrent workloads. Second, our evaluation shows that despite our improvements, the Bw-Tree still does not perform as well as other concurrent data structures that use locks.’ Finally: https://twitter.com/andy_pavlo/status/986647389820747776 : ‘Our results show that @ViktorLeis’s ART index and @xexd’s MassTree and a non-fancy B+Tree are currently the best for in-memory workloads. Skip Lists are always terrible.’

    (tags: skip-lists algorithms data-structures storage bw-trees mass-trees benchmarks performance multithreading lock-free locking trees)

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Links for 2018-04-18

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Links for 2018-04-17

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Links for 2018-04-14

  • How to report graphic abortion imagery to the gardai under Irish law

    I tried to report ICBR graphic abortion imagery to the Gardai today and met a lot of resistance. The following thread gives an account of what happened and how someone can effectively report this imagery. 1/x At 2pm on Friday the 13th of April I noticed the presence of ICBR graphic abortion imagery being displayed outside the Nassau street entrance of Trinity. I called Kevin Street Garda Station in order to make a complaint under Section 7 of the Public Order Act 1994 2/x I was told that the Gardai had been instructed by their superiors to not intervene with such imagery and that this direction had come from the Refendum Commission itself. I then called the Refendum Commission in order to query this, as they’d never been involved previously. 3/x A representative from the commission informed me that no such direction had been given to the Gardai as it is not in the commission’s remit to influence such imagery. The representative told me that they would contact with Kevin Street Station about this miscommunication. 4/x I then rang Kevin Street Station again to inform them of what I had been told by the Refendum Commission. I was then told that a complaint had to be made in person to either a Garda on the scene or to a local station (Trinity would be Pearse Street), which is understandable. 5/x I informed the Gardai of a similar experience in Dundrum in which the local station had dispatched officers to move along those displaying the imagery to prevent a breach of the peace without a complaint being made in person. 6/x I was finally told that Pearse Street Station would be contacted to have an available car dispatched to Trinity. 8/x TLDR: If you see this imagery, report it under Section 7. If you are told that the Gardai cannot intervene, let them know that other stations have before. If they say they have been directed by the Referendum Commission, let them know there is no such directive on record. 9/x I hope this miscommunication can be cleared up and that both @gardainfo and @RefCom_ie end up on the same page, so that Gardai can continue to do their jobs effectively and respond to public complaints of breach of the peace. 10/10
    Very illuminating.

    (tags: twitter threads abortion propaganda gardai law ireland public-order-act)

  • Thomas Mayne (politician) – Wikipedia

    An illustrious ancestor, apparently! ‘Thomas Mayne (1832–1915) was an Irish Parliamentary Party politician. He was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for Tipperary at a by-election in 1883,[1] and held the seat until the constituency was divided at the 1885 general election. He was then elected for the new Mid division of Tipperary,[2] and held that seat until he resigned in 1890 by becoming Steward of the Manor of Northstead.[3]’ He was known for helping Charles Stewart Parnell in a sticky situation — from http://www.online-literature.com/elbert-hubbard/journeys-vol-thirteen/6/ : ‘About six months after this, London was convulsed with laughter at a joke too good to keep: One Captain O’Shea [Kitty O’Shea’s husband] had challenged Charles Parnell, the Irish Leader, to a duel. Parnell accepted the challenge, but the fight was off, because Thomas Mayne had gone to O’Shea and told him he “would kick him the length of Rotten Row if he tried to harm or even opened his Galway yawp about Parnell.”‘

    (tags: parnell thomas-mayne ancestors history ireland nationalism mps 1800s 19th-century kitty-oshea)

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Links for 2018-04-12

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Links for 2018-04-11

  • Uses This / Leonard Lin

    lhl describes the stuff he uses, day to day. Lots of travel gear, drones, Linux and a surprising lack of Macs

    (tags: travel shopping hardware gear uses-this lhl drones vr linux vive chromebook tips)

  • #Repealthe8th | Are the Irish Media Up To The Job?

    For years we were subject to speculation and debate about the emergence of new party in Irish politics. Endless coverage for Lucinda Creighton, Michael McDowell and whoever else. All the while, the most incredibly vibrant social movement touching every county in Ireland has emerged and the majority of journalists are unable to write about it. Media comment has concerned itself not so much with the issues but with grave concern that this is happening outside perceived boundaries of respectable politics. This is ordinary people getting together and putting a most unspeakable issue on the agenda and soon to vote – in spite of the Normal Rules. It is not just that regime journalists live in a bubble or don’t care to inform themselves. They genuinely do not understand how this campaign has played out. It is beyond their entire conception. This is what happens when your idea of politics only extends to the ritual of posters on lamp posts.

    (tags: media ireland politics political-correspondents oireachtas-retort analysis society marref repealthe8th)

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