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Syndrome K
The Fake Disease That Saved Lives:
On October 1943, the Nazis raided a Jewish ghetto in Rome, and many Jews fled to Fatebenefratelli, where Borromeo admitted them as “patients”. The refugees were given a new [fake] fatal disease—Syndrome K—in order to identify them from the actual patients.
wwii  syndrome-k  fakes  diseases  rome  giovanni-borromeo  hospitals  jews  resistance 
11 hours ago
XXH3
'a cross-over inspired by many other great hash algorithms, which proves substantially faster than existing variants of xxHash, across basically all dimensions.'
hashing  algorithms  xxhash  xxh3  checksums  performance 
yesterday
cel-go
The Go implementation of the Common Expression Language (CEL). CEL is a non-Turing complete language designed to be portable and fast. It is well suited to embedded applications expression evaluation with familiar syntax and features, protocol buffer support, and not needing the sandboxing needed for a runtime like JavaScript or Lua.
scripting  golang  go  cel  languages  coding  configuration  config  embedded 
yesterday
Flawed analysis, failed oversight: How Boeing, FAA certified the suspect 737 MAX flight control system
omg this article is absolutely horrific. Boeing are in deep shit if this is borne out.
Like all 737s, the MAX actually has two of the sensors, one on each side of the fuselage near the cockpit. But the MCAS was designed to take a reading from only one of them.

Lemme said Boeing could have designed the system to compare the readings from the two vanes, which would have indicated if one of them was way off. Alternatively, the system could have been designed to check that the angle-of-attack reading was accurate while the plane was taxiing on the ground before takeoff, when the angle of attack should read zero.

“They could have designed a two-channel system. Or they could have tested the value of angle of attack on the ground,” said Lemme. “I don’t know why they didn’t.”

The black box data provided in the preliminary investigation report shows that readings from the two sensors differed by some 20 degrees not only throughout the flight but also while the airplane taxied on the ground before takeoff.
faa  aviation  boeing  737max  safety  fail  sensors  flight  crashes  mcas 
2 days ago
2-hour-long meetings can impair cognitive functioning
'Study shoes three people in a conference room over 2 hours can result in a Co2 level that can impair cognitive functioning. Ie. If you’re making decisions at the end of the meeting, you’re mentally less qualified to do so.'

Well, I'd say that fatigue could also result in this, but it's interesting to see how unhealthy the typical office environment can be. (via Jeff Dean)
via:jeffdean  meetings  work  offices  brain  co2  cognition 
3 days ago
Why Do so Many Egyptian Statues Have Broken Noses? - Artsy
wow, TIL. 'The ancient Egyptians, it’s important to note, ascribed important powers to images of the human form. They believed that the essence of a deity could inhabit an image of that deity, or, in the case of mere mortals, part of that deceased human being’s soul could inhabit a statue inscribed for that particular person. These campaigns of vandalism were therefore intended to “deactivate an image’s strength,” as Bleiberg put it.'
egypt  culture  art  history  noses 
5 days ago
Ash Sarkar on how to counter the new right
'a) Acknowledge that the fascist threat has changed. It's political operations are far more nebulous and diffuse; it works in political institutions and dark corners of the internet; it will adopt and distort liberal tropes and talking points.

b) Deal with the fact that traditional forms of policing will be of little effectiveness in countering it. Those with the most power to inhibit the dissemination of far-right and racist ideology are the digital platforms they rely on: reddit, Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook.

c) Transform current affairs media. For too long, producers and editors have taken the alt-right at their word, and framed issues as free speech/limits of offensive humour. That must change. Unless you're willing to do rigorous research first, don't commission the debate.

d) Overhaul the teaching of PSHE & Citizenship in education to prepare young people for the desensitising and extreme content they will see online. Create space for healthy debate and discussion in respectful environments. Don't let groomers take advantage of their curiousity.

e) Get a very big bin, and put Melanie Phillips, Rod Liddle, and Douglas Murray in it. Then fire the bin into outer space.'
alt-right  fascism  media  politics  internet  social-media  twitter  reddit  ash-sarkar 
5 days ago
The Oxygen of Amplification

Offering extremely candid comments from mainstream journalists, this report provides a snapshot of an industry [news media] caught between the pressure to deliver page views, the impulse to cover manipulators and “trolls,” and the disgust (expressed in interviewees’ own words) of accidentally propagating extremist ideology.

After reviewing common methods of “information laundering” of radical and racist messages through the press, Phillips uses journalists’ own words to propose a set of editorial “better practices” intended to reduce manipulation and harm.

As social and digital media are leveraged to reconfigure the information landscape, Phillips argues that this new domain requires journalists to take what they know about abuses of power and media manipulation in traditional information ecosystems; and apply and adapt that knowledge to networked actors, such as white nationalist networks online.
media  news  harassment  nazis  fascism  overton-window  journalism  racism  press 
5 days ago
Several Boeing 737 Max 8 pilots in U.S. complained about suspected safety flaw | Airlines | Dallas News
'one captain calling the flight manual "inadequate and almost criminally insufficient"'

'The disclosures found by The News reference problems during Boeing 737 Max 8 flights with an autopilot system, and they were all during takeoff and nose-down situations while trying to gain altitude.'
boeing  planes  safety  autopilots  737max 
7 days ago
What (And Why) I’m Stockpiling For Brexit
Jack Monroe's shopping list. may be coming in handy soon, unfortunately
brexit  fuck  stockpiling  prep  food  tins 
8 days ago
The "Tragedy of the Commons" was invented by a white supremacist based on a false history, and it's toxic bullshit / Boing Boing
Hardin's paper starts with a history of the English Commons -- publicly held lands that were collectively owned and managed -- and the claim that commons routinely fell prey to the selfish human impulse to overgraze your livestock on public land (and that even non-selfish people would overgraze their animals because they knew that their more-selfish neighbors would do so even if they didn't).

But this isn't what actually happened to the Commons: they were stable and well-managed until other factors (e.g. rich people trying to acquire even more land) destabilized them.

Hardin wasn't just inventing false histories out of a vacuum. He was, personally, a nasty piece of work: a white supremacist and eugenicist, and the Tragedy of the Commons paper is shot through with this vile ideology, arguing that poor people should not be given charity lest they breed beyond their means (Hardin also campaigned against food aid). Hardin was a director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform and the white nationalist Social Contract Press, and co-founded anti-immigrant groups like Californians for Population Stabilization and The Environmental Fund.
commons  capitalism  racism  garrett-hardin  tragedy-of-the-commons  politics  privatization  public-ownership 
9 days ago
How Theranos used the USPTO to defraud investors and patients
When legendary grifter Elizabeth Holmes was 19 years old, she conceived of a medical device that could perform extensive diagnostics in an eyeblink from only a single drop of blood; she had no idea how such a device would work or whether it was even possible, but that didn't stop her from drawing up a patent application for her "invention" and repeatedly submitting to the patent office until, eventually, she was awarded a patent for what amounted to a piece of uninspiring design fiction.

For Holmes, the patent was key to convincing investors, partners, and patients that her massive, years-long fraud (a company called "Theranos" bilked investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars) was legit; the USPTO helped her out by trumpeting the importance of patents to "inventors" like Holmes, comparing her to Benjamin Franklin in their public communications.

Patents are only supposed to be issued for devices with "utility" -- that is, they have to actually work before you can get a patent for them. But it's been decades since the USPTO has paid meaningful attention to this criterion when evaluating applications, handing out patents for imaginary "inventions" to con artists, delusional hucksters, and other "inventors" who are willing to pay the filing fees that keep the lights on at the Patent Office. And since most people only have a vague idea of the rigor used in patent examination, these patents for design fiction can be used as impressive "proof" when crooks set out to deceive their marks.

[....] 'More than a decade after Holmes’ first patent application, Theranos had still not managed to build a reliable blood-testing device. By then the USPTO had granted it hundreds of patents. Holmes had been constructing a fantasy world from the minute she started writing her first application, and the agency was perfectly happy to play along.'
fraud  patents  uspto  theranos  inventions  boing-boing 
13 days ago
Why do remote meetings suck so much?
Unstructured, "caucus"-style meetings suck particularly badly for remote workers.
When audio/visual delays exacerbate the caucus problem for people who always get the floor in meetings, it looks to them like a new problem. It’s not new; it’s just normally experienced by people in meetings with lower caucus scores. Leadership doesn’t notice because people in leadership positions tend to have higher caucus scores, and being in a position of leadership also tends to boost your caucus score (basically because people interrupt you less). But that’s a weakness of the way we identify decision-makers: good ideas come from everywhere, and especially from people who do a lot of thinking and observing before they say anything.

Making meetings more accessible to remote employees doesn’t just make meetings more accessible to remote employees; it makes meetings more accessible to everyone. 
team  meetings  remote  communication  management  caucus-score  remote-work 
14 days ago
camelcamelcamel, a free Amazon price tracker
'Our free Amazon price tracker monitors millions of products and alerts you when prices drop, helping you decide when to buy.'

Supports amazon.co.uk, handily
amazon  shopping  deals  buying  money 
14 days ago
National Climate Assessment: How to deal with despair over climate change - Vox
The dominant narrative around climate change tells us that it’s our fault. We left the lights on too long, didn’t close the refrigerator door, and didn’t recycle our paper. I’m here to tell you that is bullshit. ... Don’t give in to that shame. It’s not yours. The oil and gas industry is gaslighting you.

That same IPCC report revealed that a mere 100 companies are responsible for 71 percent of global climate emissions. These people are locking you and everything you love into a tomb. You have every right to be pissed all the way off. And we have to make them hear about it.
climate  climate-change  anger  capitalism  ipcc  fossil-fuels  future 
14 days ago
Algorithms aren’t racist. Your skin is just too dark.
More than a few observers have recommended that instead of pointing out failures, I should simply make sure I use additional lighting. Silence is not the answer. The suggestion to get more lights to increase illumination in an already lit room is a stop gap solution. Suggesting people with dark skin keep extra lights around to better illuminate themselves misses the point. Should we change ourselves to fit technology or make technology that fits us?
ethics  racism  ai  algorithms  cameras  melanin  skin  video  videoconferencing 
15 days ago
Why did Sumerians use the sexagesimal system?
TIL that 60 is countable using the fingers of both hands, and this ancient Mesopotamian counting technique is still used in India, Pakistan, Indochina, Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey, Syria and Egypt apparently
sexagesimal  12  60  counting  fingers  history  sumerian  mesopotamia 
15 days ago
"Understanding Real-World Concurrency Bugs in Go" (paper)
'Go advocates for the usage of message passing as the means of inter-thread communication and provides several new concurrency mechanisms and libraries to ease multi-threading programming. It is important to understand the implication of these new proposals and the comparison of message passing and shared memory synchronization in terms of program errors, or bugs. Unfortunately, as far as we know, there has been no study on Go’s concurrency bugs. In this paper, we perform the first systematic study on concurrency bugs in real Go programs. We studied six popular Go software including Docker, Kubernetes, and gRPC.

We analyzed 171 concurrency bugs in total, with more than half of them caused by non-traditional, Go-specific problems. Apart from root causes of these bugs, we also studied their fixes, performed experiments to reproduce them, and evaluated them with two publicly-available Go bug detectors.
Overall, our study provides a better understanding on Go’s concurrency models and can guide future researchers and practitioners in writing better, more reliable Go software and in developing debugging and diagnosis tools for Go.'

(via Bill de hOra)
via:dehora  golang  go  concurrency  bugs  lint  synchronization  threading  threads  bug-detection 
18 days ago
Thought-provoking thread on Facebook/YouTube content moderation
Extremely thought-provoking thread on the horrors of Facebook/YouTube content moderation, from Andrew Strait:
My time doing this work convinced me there is no ultimate mitigation measure for the mental harm it causes. Automation is not a silver bullet - it requires massive labeled data sets by moderators on a continuing basis to ensure accuracy and proper model fit.

There are steps to make this process less worse, but IMO it all comes back to a basic question - what technologies are worth the incredible human suffering and cost that moderators will inevitably experience? Is image search worth it? Is YouTube? Is Facebook?

I don't have an answer. But these platforms create the need for this kind of horrific work and that must be considered at the forefront of design and deployment of any platform, not as an afterthought.
horror  moderation  youtube  facebook  video  content  mental-health  andrew-strait  image-search  images  labelling  google 
19 days ago
Paper: Hyperscan: A Fast Multi-pattern Regex Matcher for Modern CPUs
a software based, large-scale regex matcher designed to match multiple patterns at once (up to tens of thousands of patterns at once) and to ‘stream‘ (that is, match patterns across many different ‘stream writes’ without holding on to all the data you’ve ever seen). To my knowledge this makes it unique.

RE2 is software based but doesn’t scale to large numbers of patterns; nor does it stream (although it could). It occupies a fundamentally different niche to Hyperscan; we compared the performance of RE2::Set (the RE2 multiple pattern interface) to Hyperscan a while back.

Most back-tracking matchers (such as libpcre) are one pattern at a time and are inherently incapable of streaming, due to their requirement to backtrack into arbitrary amounts of old input.
regex  regular-expressions  algorithms  hyperscan  sensory-networks  regexps  simd  nfa 
19 days ago
The Woolsey fire started at the contaminated Santa Susana Field Laboratory
'The speculative and non-credible have now happened. A fire burned through most of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, a site contaminated with radioactivity and toxic chemicals allowed by decades of shoddy environmental controls.'

This site is legendary as a place where dangerous, toxic and radioactive chemicals were experimented with - indeed it was where the 1959 sodium reactor partial meltdown occurred. I wouldn't want to have been downwind of this fire...
health  santa-susana-field-laboratory  nuclear  fast-breeders  atomic-energy  meltdowns  history  toxic-waste  california  woolsey-fire  wildfires 
20 days ago
databricks/devbox
interesting, a synchronization daemon from Databricks which they use to synch up dev repos with a remote "devbox" in EC2 for heavyweight compilation
remote-compiles  compiling  devbox  databricks  coding  tools  dev  ec2 
20 days ago
Argo Workflows & Pipelines
Nice new workflow system built on Kubernetes and Docker
k8s  kubernetes  docker  containers  workflow  pipelines  architecture  batch  nightly-jobs  ops 
20 days ago
Governments Must Face the Facts about Face Surveillance, and Stop Using It | Electronic Frontier Foundation
It’s important to consider all of these problems with face surveillance now. Once government builds this spying infrastructure, and starts harvesting and stockpiling a record of where we have been and who we were with, there is the inherent risk that thieves will steal this sensitive data, employees will misuse it, and policymakers will redeploy it in new unforeseen manners.

For all of these reasons, companies shouldn’t sell face surveillance technology to governments. EFF supports the effort, led by ACLU, to persuade companies to stop doing so.

Face surveillance erodes everyone’s privacy, chills free speech, and has an outsized negative impact on minority communities. So governments should not use these tools. Rather, they must face the facts about how damaging this surveillance technology is to the people they have a duty to protect.
surveillance  facial-recognition  faces  eff  government 
22 days ago
'digital health will lead to forms of enslavement we can barely imagine'
Author and Consultant Gastroenterologist Dr. Seamus O'Mahony:
Perhaps most alarming of all is his analysis of the future of the world of digital health - "Anyone with a smartphone will be monitoring themselves, or - more likely - will be monitored by some external agency. Health and life insurance companies will offer financial inducements to people to be monitored, and big corporations will undoubtedly make the wearing of health-tracking devices mandatory. The danger of all of this is that in countries where health care is paid for by insurance, a new underclass of uninsured people will emerge. Digital health," he points out, "is presented as something empowering, but the reality is that it will lead to forms of enslavement that we can barely imagine. Facebook and Google have shown how easily people hand over their privacy and personal data in return for a few shiny trinkets. They have also shown how this personal data can be monetised."
health  medicine  tracking  privacy  insurance  surveillance  data 
23 days ago
Cocktail similarity by Levenshtein distance
Love it.

'I was recently figuring out a minimum-viable bar setup for making cocktails at home, and a system for memorizing & recording recipes. When I started writing down the first basic ingredients, I started noticing that cocktails are very close to each other - if you ignore fruit rinds and ice and such, an Americano is a Negroni with soda water instead of gin. An Old Fashioned is a Manhattan with sugar instead of vermouth. So I wondered - what’s a cocktail edit distance?'
edit-distance  levenshtein-distance  algorithms  visualization  cocktails  d3  recipes  booze 
24 days ago
Mobile Service Coverage Map
Comreg have published an interactive map of 2G/3G/4G coverage across Ireland for the various providers
mapping  coverage  mobile  comreg  3g  4g  maps 
26 days ago
simdjson
Daniel Lemire's latest cool hack -- a SIMD library to parse gigabytes of JSON document per second
fast  json  parsing  speed  simd  avx  c++  algorithms  hacks  daniel-lemire 
26 days ago
Pinterest blocks vaccine-related searches in bid to fight anti-vaxx propaganda | Technology | The Guardian
The phenomenon on display in the Facebook search result screenshots is known in technology circles as a “data void”, after a paper by the Data & Society founder and researcher danah boyd. For certain search terms, boyd explains, “the available relevant data is limited, non-existent, or deeply problematic”.

In the case of vaccines, the fact that scientists and doctors are not producing a steady stream of new digital content about settled science has left a void for conspiracy theorists and fraudsters to fill with fear-mongering propaganda and misinformation. [...]

Pinterest has responded by building a “blacklist” of “polluted” search terms.

“We are doing our best to remove bad content, but we know that there is bad content that we haven’t gotten to yet,” explained Ifeoma Ozoma, a public policy and social impact manager at Pinterest. “We don’t want to surface that with search terms like ‘cancer cure’ or ‘suicide’. We’re hoping that we can move from breaking the site to surfacing only good content. Until then, this is preferable.”
data-voids  danah-boyd  pinterest  antivax  vaccination  misinformation  disinfo  vaccines  truth  blacklisting 
27 days ago
81 Megapixel image of the moon
I took nearly 50,000 images of the night sky to make an 81 Megapixel image of Tuesday's moon. Uncompressed image linked in the comments. [OC]


via Elliot
via:elliot  art  moon  astronomy  photography  hd 
4 weeks ago
[1902.04023] Computing Extremely Accurate Quantiles Using t-Digests
'We present on-line algorithms for computing approximations of rank-based statistics that give high accuracy, particularly near the tails of a distribution, with very small sketches. Notably, the method allows a quantile q to be computed with an accuracy relative to max(q,1−q) rather than absolute accuracy as with most other methods. This new algorithm is robust with respect to skewed distributions or ordered datasets and allows separately computed summaries to be combined with no loss in accuracy. An open-source Java implementation of this algorithm is available from the author. Independent implementations in Go and Python are also available.'

(via Tony Finch)
java  go  python  via:fanf  open-source  quantiles  percentiles  approximation  statistics  sketching  algorithms 
4 weeks ago
The log/event processing pipeline you can't have - apenwarr
So good. Apenwarr knows how to design a system.
Simple things don't break. Our friends on the "let's use structured events to make metrics" team streamed those events straight into a database, and it broke all the time, because databases have configuration options and you inevitably set those options wrong, and it'll fall over under heavy load, and you won't find out until you're right in the middle of an emergency and you really want to see those logs. Or events.
logging  scalability  klog  kernel  log-processing  events  embedded  ops 
4 weeks ago
The Soothing Promise of Our Own Artisanal Internet | WIRED
"Eat independent sites, mostly not Facebook" as Anil Dash puts it. This is pretty much how I use Mastodon fwiw
facebook  twitter  internet  web  social-media  mastodon  fediverse  anil-dash 
4 weeks ago
ColouriseSG
'Colourise your black and white photos - A deep learning colouriser prototype specifically for old Singaporean photos.'
color  colour  photography  ai  deep-learning  ml  colouriser  colourisation  singapore  history  black-and-white  photos 
4 weeks ago
How to pick the right router for 3G/4G broadband
Some very solid advice here.
People regularly ask me what router or antenna to get for mobile broadband.  Most people who ask are in rural areas that are stuck on a slow DSL or fixed wireless connection. [...] This article will mainly focus on routers, see my other article for antenna advice.  I recommend that one first sees how they get on with a suitable router as an antenna may not be necessary. 
3g  4g  broadband  hardware  modems  wireless  rural 
4 weeks ago
"Ptolemy's map of Ireland: a modern decoding"
paper by R. Darcy & William Flynn -- mapping the coordinates of Ptolemy's Hibernia to our modern knowledge of geography.
After reviewing earlier attempts at reconciling Ptolemy's map with modern ones we adjust Ptolemy's coordinates to modern references with two equations. We find Ptolemy's map is consistent with some intimate Mediterranean knowledge of Ireland, its peoples, coastal features and principal places with their respective locations. We correct some of the modern locations attributed to Ptolemy, offer possible explanations for certain disputed or uncertain locations and offer some external validation to the prehistoric division of Ireland passed down from pre-Patrician sources.


This places Ptolemy's "Eblana" at the modern Loughshinney, in north Co Dublin, where a Roman trading encampment was based.
eblana  loughshinney  dublin  ireland  history  ptolemy  roman  greek  hibernia  maps  mapping  geography 
4 weeks ago
Functional 3D Printing
nifty subreddit for useful 3D print models
3d-printing  3d  printing  gadgets  maker 
4 weeks ago
igloohome Smart Mortise
Now this is clever. A "smart lock" which doesn't require access to the internet; uses crypto to allow generation of transient time-limited access codes which you can give to other people, and a TOTP-style algorithm to generate one-time access codes. (via threeze)
via:threeze  smart-locks  locks  iot  crypto  igloohome  homes 
4 weeks ago
Attack of the week: searchable encryption and the ever-expanding leakage function
In all seriousness: database encryption has been a controversial subject in our field. I wish I could say that there’s been an actual debate, but it’s more that different researchers have fallen into different camps, and nobody has really had the data to make their position in a compelling way. There have actually been some very personal arguments made about it. The schools of thought are as follows:

The first holds that any kind of database encryption is better than storing records in plaintext and we should stop demanding things be perfect, when the alternative is a world of constant data breaches and sadness.

To me this is a supportable position, given that the current attack model for plaintext databases is something like “copy the database files, or just run a local SELECT * query”, and the threat model for an encrypted database is “gain persistence on the server and run sophisticated statistical attacks.” Most attackers are pretty lazy, so even a weak system is probably better than nothing.

The countervailing school of thought has two points: sometimes the good is much worse than the perfect, particularly if it gives application developers an outsized degree of confidence of the security that their encryption system is going to provide them.

If even the best encryption protocol is only throwing a tiny roadblock in the attacker’s way, why risk this at all? Just let the database community come up with some kind of ROT13 encryption that everyone knows to be crap and stop throwing good research time into a problem that has no good solution.

I don’t really know who is right in this debate. I’m just glad to see we’re getting closer to having it.

(via Jerry Connolly)
cryptography  attacks  encryption  database  crypto  security  storage  ppi  gdpr  search  databases  via:ecksor 
5 weeks ago
Blockchain: What's Not To Like?
'We're in a period when blockchain or "Distributed Ledger Technology" is the Solution to Everything™, so it is inevitable that it will be proposed as the solution to the problems of academic communication and digital preservation. These proposals typically assume, despite the evidence, that real-world blockchain implementations actually deliver the theoretical attributes of decentralization, immutability, anonymity, security, scalability, sustainability, lack of trust, etc. The proposers appear to believe that Satoshi Nakamoto revealed the infallible Bitcoin protocol to the world on golden tablets; they typically don't appreciate or cite the nearly three decades of research and implementation that led up to it. This talk will discuss the mis-match between theory and practice in blockchain technology, and how it applies to various proposed applications of interest to the CNI audience.'


Quite a collection of dunks on blockchain, Bitcoin, ICOs, the DAO, Ethereum, etc.
talks  bitcoin  blockchain  icos  ethereum  dao  security 
5 weeks ago
The curious case of disappearing buses
Nice investigation into some dodgy pseudo-real-time bus location data in the Bristol real time passenger information system (via Tony Finch)
So what have we learned? One thing we are sure is that data of different qualities – genuinely real-time, pseudo real-time (Type 2 and Type 1), and non-real-time (scheduled) data – all present in the data stream.

Among these the most interesting are Type 2 pseudo real-time data. They appear to be the root cause of the phenomenon of disappearing buses.

Type 2 pseudo-real-time data are not totally bogus. One possible explanation of their existence can be this. The bus company has limited but not full tracking information on some of their buses. For example, it may know the location of a bus only when the bus leaves the bus terminal. Instead of not showing any data at all about the bus, the bus company uses interpolation to predict the locations of the bus, and reports these as if those are real-time data.
via:fanf  bristol  buses  public-transport  rtpi  estimation  open-data 
5 weeks ago
Live Transcribe
Google's new live transcription app -- 'see instant captions anywhere.
Whether you’re ordering a coffee or meeting someone new, Live Transcribe helps you communicate in the moment.'

If this works, it'd be fantastic for the deaf and hard of hearing... nifty!
android  google  deaf  hearing  transcription  accessibility 
5 weeks ago
Marc Brooker on leases
Good advice from Marc Brooker on using leases as a way to handle leader election in a distributed system: 'Leases are a nice primitive because they are easy to understand, easy (if subtle) to implement correctly, require very little co-ordination, optimistic, and don't require much load on the strongly consistent service.'
leases  primitives  distributed-systems  distcomp  networking  coding  marc-brooker  algorithms 
5 weeks ago
hrvach/fpg1
a PDP-1 implementation in FPGA:

DEC PDP-1 is a computer designed and produced in 1959. Considering the pace of change in computing, that might seem like the prehistoric age. However, it is also surprisingly modern and proves a point that the basic concepts still withstand the test of time.

This project is trying to re-create this computer in FPGA and enable running the first real computer game, SpaceWar!, on a modern display and gamepad. It is designed to run on the MiSTer platform, a retro gaming system based on the Terasic DE10-Nano FPGA board.

The implementation is done in Verilog, a hardware description language specifying the structure and behavior of digital logic circuits. This is not a software emulation because there is no CPU executing it.

Since this is my first Verilog project ever and its purpose was to teach myself about FPGA, don't expect too much. Beginners often make mistakes or break best practice. Please keep this in mind. Advice and suggestions are welcome!
pdp1  history  computers  spacewar  fpga  hardware  verilog 
5 weeks ago
Revealed: The dark-money Brexit ads flooding social media | openDemocracy
Oh god, here we go again. Facebook ads need to be regulated.
Over the last four months, the People’s Vote and Best for Britain campaigns spent £266,369 and £183,943, respectively. Neither of these anti-Brexit groups is fully transparent either: both publish some details about themselves, such as addresses, but do not publish full details of all funders and donors. During the same time period, Britain’s Future [which does not declare its funders and has no published address] has spent more than £200,000 on Facebook ads.

While anti-Brexit spending has slowed down in recent weeks, however, adverts pushing a ‘no deal’ Brexit have spiked. Britain’s Future has spent more than £110,000 on Facebook ads since mid-January. It is not clear where the money for this huge ad push has come from.
facebook  advertising  transparency  brexit  ads  political-ads  uk 
6 weeks ago
Google Hired Gig Economy Workers for Project Maven
Other tech giants are reportedly interested in engaging the military as it continues to deploy artificial intelligence technology. Much larger machine-learning projects may require vastly new engagement from gig economy workers, who may unknowingly engage in the work.

“Workers absolutely should have the right to know what they are working on, and especially when moral or politically controversial activities are involved,” said Juliet Schor, a sociology professor at Boston College, in an email to The Intercept. “It’s a basic dimension of democracy, which should not stop at either the factory or the platform ‘door.’ For too long, the country has tolerated erosion of basic civil rights in the workplace, as corporations assume ever-more control over their workforces. It’s time to win them back.”
google  project-maven  ai  training  labelling  work  ethics  military 
6 weeks ago
An In-Depth Guide to Nginx Metrics
decent list of what nginx offers in terms of instrumentation
nginx  metrics  ops  graphing  scalyr 
6 weeks ago
Understanding the bin, sbin, usr/bin , usr/sbin split
omg. /usr/bin came about because Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie ran out of disk space on the root volume. Mind = blown
You know how Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie created Unix on a PDP-7 in 1969? Well around 1971 they upgraded to a PDP-11 with a pair of RK05 disk packs (1.5 megabytes each) for storage.

When the operating system grew too big to fit on the first RK05 disk pack (their
root filesystem) they let it leak into the second one, which is where all the
user home directories lived (which is why the mount was called /usr). They
replicated all the OS directories under there (/bin, /sbin, /lib, /tmp...) and
wrote files to those new directories because their original disk was out of
space. When they got a third disk, they mounted it on /home and relocated all
the user directories to there so the OS could consume all the space on both
disks and grow to THREE WHOLE MEGABYTES (ooooh!).
filesystem  unix  history  ken-thompson  dennis-ritchie  disk-space  usr 
6 weeks ago
One Of The Biggest At-Home DNA Testing Companies Is Working With The FBI
Family Tree reveal that they are providing access to customer-submitted DNA records:
“We are nearing a de-facto national DNA database,” Natalie Ram, an assistant law professor at the University of Baltimore who specializes in bioethics and criminal justice, told BuzzFeed News. “We don’t choose our genetic relatives, and I cannot sever my genetic relation to them. There’s nothing voluntary about that.”

Others aired similar concerns. “I would be very against Family Tree DNA allowing law enforcement to have open access to their DNA database,” Debbie Kennett, a British genealogy enthusiast and honorary research associate at University College London said. “I don’t think it’s right for law enforcement to use a database without the informed consent of the consumer.”


(via Antonio Regalado)
biometrics  privacy  dna  family-tree  via:antonio-regalado  genealogy  data-protection  fbi  us 
6 weeks ago
Write tests. Not too many. Mostly integration. – kentcdodds
Nice short summary of Kent Dodds' approach to testing, which I mostly agree with :)
integration  coding  testing  unit-tests  integration-tests  system-tests 
6 weeks ago
NYC cops now using Chinese "Sky Net" video surveillance systems
This is absolutely scary. Systematic surveillance:
The surveillance tools are identical to those used in Sky Net in China, the largest video surveillance system on Earth, Chinese government research institutes and a company involved in the project said.

At a time when China and the United States are locked in a rivalry on several fronts including trade and technology, Hikvision – the world’s largest surveillance technology company, which is state-owned and based in Hangzhou in eastern China – has supplied the equipment and software used by an American force that polices a population of about 8.6 million people.

It has been claimed that Hikvision’s system can accurately identify faces regardless of race, whereas some Western-developed technology had previously been more accurate for white people than for black citizens – although the NYPD has not discussed its reasons for using the Chinese technology.

The Sky Net programme, now renamed Pingan Chengshi, or Safe Cities, claimed to have connected 170 million cameras across China last year. By 2020, another 400 million units will be installed, it said, casting a watchful eye on every two citizens. Beijing plans to be able to identify anyone, anytime, anywhere in China within three seconds.
surveillance  new-york  nyc  skynet  china  cctv  hikvision 
6 weeks ago
The right-wing history of the urban models which inspired SimCity
Largely forgotten now, Jay Forrester’s Urban Dynamics put forth the controversial claim that the overwhelming majority of American urban policy was not only misguided but that these policies aggravated the very problems that they were intended to solve. In place of Great Society-style welfare programs, Forrester argued that cities should take a less interventionist approach to the problems of urban poverty and blight, and instead encourage revitalization indirectly through incentives for businesses and for the professional class. Forrester’s message proved popular among conservative and libertarian writers, Nixon Administration officials, and other critics of the Great Society for its hands-off approach to urban policy. This outlook, supposedly backed up by computer models, remains highly influential among establishment pundits and policymakers today.
simulation  cities  society  politics  history  simcity  games  jay-forrester  will-wright  sociology 
6 weeks ago
Facial Recognition Is the Perfect Tool for Oppression
'We believe facial recognition technology is the most uniquely dangerous surveillance mechanism ever invented. It’s the missing piece in an already dangerous surveillance infrastructure, built because that infrastructure benefits both the government and private sectors. And when technologies become so dangerous, and the harm-to-benefit ratio becomes so imbalanced, categorical bans are worth considering. The law already prohibits certain kinds of dangerous digital technologies, like spyware. Facial recognition technology is far more dangerous. It’s worth singling out, with a specific prohibition on top of a robust, holistic, value-based, and largely technology-neutral regulatory framework. Such a layered system will help avoid regulatory whack-a-mole where lawmakers are always chasing tech trends.

Surveillance conducted with facial recognition systems is intrinsically oppressive. The mere existence of facial recognition systems, which are often invisible, harms civil liberties, because people will act differently if they suspect they’re being surveilled. Even legislation that holds out the promise of stringent protective procedures won’t prevent chill from impeding crucial opportunities for human flourishing by dampening expressive and religious conduct.'
tech  surveillance  facial-recognition  faces  oppression  future  chilling-effects 
7 weeks ago
The 26,000-Year Astronomical Monument Hidden in Plain Sight at the Hoover Dam
This is amazing! I wish I'd noticed it when I visited Hoover Dam.
The center of the circle traced by the axial precession is actually the massive flag pole in the center of the plaza. This axial circle is prominently marked around the pole, and the angle of Polaris was depicted as precisely as possible to show where it would have been on the date of the dam’s opening. Hansen used the rest of the plaza floor to show the location of the planets visible that evening, and many of the bright stars that appear in the night sky at that location.

By combining planet locations with the angle of precession, we are able to pinpoint the time of the dam’s completion down to within a day. We are now designing a similar system — though with moving parts — in the dials of the 10,000 Year Clock. It is likely that at least major portions of the Hoover Dam will still be in place hundreds of thousands of years from now. Hopefully the Clock will still be ticking and Hansen’s terrazzo floor will still be there, even if it continues to baffle visitors.


(Via Tony Finch)
hoover-dam  history  precession  astronomy  long-now  polaris  vega  thuban  stars  clocks 
7 weeks ago
Security Things to Consider When Your Apartment Goes ‘Smart’
Good advice, and I'd be pretty unhappy about this if it happened to me too.
If you’re a tenant in the US, it’s very likely that a management-provided smart home system is headed your way in the near future. Carefully evaluate your family’s personal threat model, and consider the plausible digital ways which these systems could be exploited.

Spend some time reading into the vendor. Respectfully and courteously encourage your property management company and their smart system vendor to adopt industry best practices in securing smart hubs physically and digitally, the networks they are connected to, and and resident data at rest and in transit in their infrastructure. Request your property managers clearly and decisively address privacy concerns such as data ownership and resale in writing. If solid answers in writing don’t assuage legitimate concerns, consider politely seeking an option to opt-out – and make your threat model clear to them, if you’re in a sensitive situation.
locks  iot  security  internetofshit  tenancy  renting  smart-hubs  smart-homes  smart-locks 
7 weeks ago
Amendment-apocalypse: Spineless MPs just voted against reality
... in a way, it was typical May tactics. She prioritised vague promises over content. She sabotaged something - anything - in order to fight another day. She made promises she could not keep on issues she knew to be false. Once again, she said anything, anything at all, to survive just a little longer.

[...] it has significant medium-term implications too. Firstly, it shows why the backstop was needed in the first place. This country has become an unreliable negotiating partner. It will demand something one day then seek to detonate it the next. The events in the Commons today actually had the ironic effect of reaffirming to the EU the need for the backstop insurance policy.

On a broader level, we are about to go around the world asking for trade deals. But we're seen, by everyone, on the largest stage imaginable, to be fundamentally politically insane. We've gone mad and everyone is looking.

This is as bleak a day as we have had in the entire Brexit process. All roads now seem blocked. MPs won't back an extension to Article 50. They won't back May's deal. And they won't back no-deal. They've opted for fairy tales over action. Things are looking very bad indeed.
brexit  politics  uk  eu  backstop 
7 weeks ago
_AI Ethics, Impossibility Theorems and Tradeoffs_
Great slides by Chris Stucchio, Director of Data Science at Simpl, discussing the various ethical strategies of utilitarianism, procedural fairness, allocative fairness, and representational fairness, and how they can be implemented (or at least acknowledged) in machine learning/statistical systems.

'one meta-ethical prescription: formalize your ethical principles as terms in your utility function or as constraints. It is nearly certain that tradeoffs between these principles exist, and if we don’t acknowledge this, we run the risk of unknowingly engaging in bad actions.'
discrimination  ethics  racism  race  ai  statistics  compas  machine-learning 
7 weeks ago
aws-lambda-container-image-converter
'The AWS Lambda container image converter tool (img2lambda) repackages container images (such as Docker images) into AWS Lambda layers, and publishes them as new layer versions.'
lambda  docker  aws  layers  filesystem  coding  containers  serverless 
7 weeks ago
Computer says "prison camp"
China: Big Data Fuels Crackdown in Minority Region:
Chinese authorities are building and deploying a predictive policing program based on big data analysis in Xinjiang, Human Rights Watch said today. The program aggregates data about people – often without their knowledge – and flags those it deems potentially threatening to officials. According to interviewees, some of those targeted are detained and sent to extralegal “political education centers” where they are held indefinitely without charge or trial, and can be subject to abuse.

“For the first time, we are able to demonstrate that the Chinese government’s use of big data and predictive policing not only blatantly violates privacy rights, but also enables officials to arbitrarily detain people,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch. “People in Xinjiang can’t resist or challenge the increasingly intrusive scrutiny of their daily lives because most don’t even know about this ‘black box’ program or how it works.”


(via Zeynep Tufekci)
via:zeynep  human-rights  china  grim-meathook-future  future  grim  policing  xinjiang  prison-camps  surveillance  big-data 
7 weeks ago
Crumlin hospital sent DNA off without consent
a company called WuXi NextCODE owning the genome data for a large part of Ireland's population is very cyberpunk
wuxi-nextcode  genomics  genomes  data-privacy  privacy  crumlin-hospital  genes  ireland  gdpr 
7 weeks ago
In praise of the sci-fi corridor
A lovely appraisal of classic 1970s SF set design
sets  sf  scifi  movies  corridors 
7 weeks ago
Daniel Edward Heffernan’s Map of Dublin, 1861
These maps are really remarkable work:
Heffernan’s map of Dublin, published 1 May 1861, is both highly unusual and very fine. No other map of the time gives such a bird’s eye, almost axonometric, view of the city’s edifices. It shows in exceptional elevational detail both a number of the city’s principal public buildings, but also its less vaunted institutions; prisons, hospitals, workhouses etc., all within the municipal boundary set by the two canals.
daniel-heffernan  history  19th-century  dublin  ireland  maps 
7 weeks ago
research!rsc: Our Software Dependency Problem
The kind of critical examination of specific dependencies that I outlined in this article is a significant amount of work and remains the exception rather than the rule. But I doubt there are any developers who actually make the effort to do this for every possible new dependency. I have only done a subset of them for a subset of my own dependencies. Most of the time the entirety of the decision is “let’s see what happens.” Too often, anything more than that seems like too much effort.

But the Copay and Equifax attacks are clear warnings of real problems in the way we consume software dependencies today. We should not ignore the warnings. I offer three broad recommendations.

* Recognize the problem. If nothing else, I hope this article has convinced you that there is a problem here worth addressing. We need many people to focus significant effort on solving it.

* Establish best practices for today. We need to establish best practices for managing dependencies using what’s available today. This means working out processes that evaluate, reduce, and track risk, from the original adoption decision through to production use. In fact, just as some engineers specialize in testing, it may be that we need engineers who specialize in managing dependencies.

* Develop better dependency technology for tomorrow. Dependency managers have essentially eliminated the cost of downloading and installing a dependency. Future development effort should focus on reducing the cost of the kind of evaluation and maintenance necessary to use a dependency. For example, package discovery sites might work to find more ways to allow developers to share their findings. Build tools should, at the least, make it easy to run a package’s own tests. More aggressively, build tools and package management systems could also work together to allow package authors to test new changes against all public clients of their APIs. Languages should also provide easy ways to isolate a suspect package.
dependencies  software  coding  work 
7 weeks ago
Brexit: debunking "trading on WTO terms"
a favourite brexiteer talking point demolished
wto  trade  brexit  uk 
7 weeks ago
We may finally know what causes Alzheimer’s – and how to stop it
This is amazing:
If you bled when you brushed your teeth this morning, you might want to get that seen to. We may finally have found the long-elusive cause of Alzheimer’s disease: Porphyromonas gingivalis, the key bacteria in chronic gum disease. That’s bad, as gum disease affects around a third of all people. But the good news is that a drug that blocks the main toxins of P. gingivalis is entering major clinical trials this year, and research published today shows it might stop and even reverse Alzheimer’s. There could even be a vaccine.


(via John Looney)
via:johnlooney  gingivitis  alzheimers  brain  health  medicine  teeth 
7 weeks ago
'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism
“Surveillance capitalism,” she writes, “unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioural data. Although some of these data are applied to service improvement, the rest are declared as a proprietary behavioural surplus, fed into advanced manufacturing processes known as ‘machine intelligence’, and fabricated into prediction products that anticipate what you will do now, soon, and later. Finally, these prediction products are traded in a new kind of marketplace that I call behavioural futures markets. Surveillance capitalists have grown immensely wealthy from these trading operations, for many companies are willing to lay bets on our future behaviour.”

While the general modus operandi of Google, Facebook et al has been known and understood (at least by some people) for a while, what has been missing – and what Zuboff provides – is the insight and scholarship to situate them in a wider context. She points out that while most of us think that we are dealing merely with algorithmic inscrutability, in fact what confronts us is the latest phase in capitalism’s long evolution – from the making of products, to mass production, to managerial capitalism, to services, to financial capitalism, and now to the exploitation of behavioural predictions covertly derived from the surveillance of users.
advertising  technology  surveillance  facebook  google  adtech  capitalism  business 
8 weeks ago
Stack Overflow: How We Do Monitoring - 2018 Edition
interesting to see how the other half lives, as Stack Overflow is a .NET shop
logging  monitoring  stack-overflow  dotnet  ops  metrics 
8 weeks ago
The Plot Against George Soros
The anti-Soros campaign was entirely artificial, as a means to elect Orban in Hungary:
Orbán was busy creating a new, more dramatic story of the nation. Hungary, which had collaborated with the Nazis, was painted as a victim, surrounded by external enemies, under perpetual siege, first from the Ottomans, then the Nazis, and later the Communists. Hungary’s mission was clear: to defend against its enemies, and to preserve Christianity against encroaching Islam and secular forces.

Against this backdrop, Finkelstein had an epiphany. What if the veil of the conspiracy were to be lifted and a shadowy figure appear, controlling everything? The puppet master. Someone who not only controlled the “big capital” but embodied it. A real person. A Hungarian. Strange, yet familiar. That person was Soros, Finkelstein told Birnbaum. Birnbaum was mesmerized: Soros was the perfect enemy.

[....] Despite everything that followed, Birnbaum is proud of the campaign against Soros: “Soros was a perfect enemy. It was so obvious. It was the simplest of all products, you just had to pack it and market it.”

The product was so good, it sold itself and went global. In 2017, Italians started talking about Soros-financed immigrant boats arriving on the shores. In the US, some people suspected Soros was behind the migrant caravan entering from Central America. A Polish member of parliament called Soros the “most dangerous man in the world.” Putin referred dismissively to Soros during a press conference with Trump in Helsinki. Trump even claimed that the demonstrations against Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh were sponsored by Soros.

Today Finkelstein and Birnbaum’s work in Hungary has echoes everywhere. Birnbaum denied the suggestion that he had run anti-Soros campaigns outside of Hungary. But perhaps he didn’t have to. Anyone could pick up the ideas and run with them. Finkelstein and Birnbaum had turned Soros into a meme. Right-wing sites like Breitbart, or the Kremlin-controlled Russia Today, could simply adopt the Hungarian campaign, translate it into other languages, and feed it with local arguments. If right-wing movements want to campaign today, they can source Soros material from the internet. Anti-Soros material is a globalized, freely available, and adaptable open-source weapon. Birnbaum said it was the common denominator of the nationalist movement.
george-soros  conspiracies  george-birnbaum  antisemitism  hungary  arthur-finkelstein  politics  campaigning 
8 weeks ago
PhoneNumbers.ie
'Do you want to find out information about an unknown caller?' -- reputation service for random callers in Ireland. Very useful to find out if others have received scammy calls from a given number
reputation  phone  telephone  callers  scams  phishing  ireland 
8 weeks ago
mbasic.facebook.com
Super-basic HTML-only view of Facebook -- ugly but blisteringly fast with no HTML5 crapola
light  facebook  basic  html  javascript 
8 weeks ago
Instance Price Guide
Nicely done EC2 instance price comparison site, with spot instance and reserved pricing discounts taken into account; possibly better than ec2instances.info
ec2  instances  aws  pricing  hosts  spot-instances  money 
8 weeks ago
Opinion | The Malign Incompetence of the British Ruling Class - The New York Times
Pankaj Mishra wastes no time getting the boot into the ineptitude of the ruling-class Brexiteers. it's glorious
Politicians and journalists in Ireland are understandably aghast over the aggressive ignorance of English Brexiteers. Business people everywhere are outraged by their cavalier disregard for the economic consequences of new borders. But none of this would surprise anyone who knows of the unconscionable breeziness with which the British ruling class first drew lines through Asia and Africa and then doomed the people living across them to endless suffering.
britain  india  brexit  ireland  pakistan  asia  partition  history  colonialism  pankaj-mishra 
8 weeks ago
On the association between adolescent well-being and digital technology use
Lies, damn lies, and statistics. 'if we believe screens are destroying a generation [of kids] that would mean that so are potatoes, having asthma, not drinking milk, going to movies, music, religion, being tall, biking, and wearing glasses' [...]

'The take home from this new study is the evidence that smart phones are destroying a generation is not any stronger than potatoes and eyeglasses are destroying a generation. The moral panic surrounding the fear of screens is simply not supported by good science.'
potatoes  funny  glasses  asthma  milk  movies  music  religion  cycling  screens  screentime  kids  teenagers  wellbeing  mental-health 
9 weeks ago
_Amazon Aurora: On Avoiding Distributed Consensus for I/Os, Commits, and Membership Changes_, SIGMOD '18
One of the more novel differences between Aurora and other relational databases is how it pushes redo processing to a multi-tenant scale-out storage service, purpose-built for Aurora. Doing so reduces networking traffic, avoids checkpoints and crash recovery, enables failovers to replicas without loss of data, and enables fault-tolerant storage that heals without database involvement. Traditional implementations that leverage distributed storage would use distributed consensus algorithms for commits, reads, replication, and membership changes and amplify cost of underlying storage. In this paper, we describe how Aurora avoids distributed consensus under most circumstances by establishing invariants and leveraging local transient state. Doing so improves performance, reduces variability, and lowers costs.
papers  toread  aurora  amazon  aws  pdf  scalability  distcomp  state  sql  mysql  postgresql  distributed-consensus 
9 weeks ago
Some facts on immigration to Ireland
Handy to have to hand next time right-wing talking points emerge:
Let’s summarise:

Ireland has a relatively high level of non-citizens in its population. But this is down to the high level of UK citizens and citizens from other English-speaking countries (US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).
Ireland has significantly fewer non-citizens from outside the English-speaking world than high-income EU countries.
The proportion of non-citizens has remained stable over the last 10 years (i.e. there is no ‘surge’).
Non-citizens in Ireland are more integrated into the labour market than any other high-income EU country – that is, there is lower unemployment among non-citizens. So much for the ‘sponging-off-the-state’ argument.
We have had far fewer asylum-seekers and we grant asylum to far fewer than most other high-income EU countries.
The claims of the Far Right and their allies collapse when we look to reality. 
immigration  facts  statistics  ireland  asylum-seekers 
9 weeks ago
Serverless Computing: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back - Speaker Deck
So much agreement with this slide deck, particularly the list of limitations of current FaaS:
15 min lifetimes; I/O bottlenecks; no inbound network comms; no specialized hardware; and the general horribleness of using DynamoDB or S3 state as a platform for distributed computing protocols.
faas  lambda  serverless  fail  slides  architecture  aws  dynamodb  s3  cloud 
9 weeks ago
Apache Iceberg (incubating)
Coming to presto soon apparently....
Iceberg tracks individual data files in a table instead of directories. This allows writers to create data files in-place and only adds files to the table in an explicit commit.

Table state is maintained in metadata files. All changes to table state create a new metadata file and replace the old metadata with an atomic operation. The table metadata file tracks the table schema, partitioning config, other properties, and snapshots of the table contents.

The atomic transitions from one table metadata file to the next provide snapshot isolation. Readers use the latest table state (snapshot) that was current when they load the table metadata and are not affected by changes until they refresh and pick up a new metadata location.


excellent -- this will let me obsolete so much of our own code :)
presto  storage  s3  hive  iceberg  apache  asf  data  architecture 
9 weeks ago
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