Tuesday April 15th, 2014

TN slaps buses

meuon comments (1)


Better article:


Tennessee State Senate approved Senate Bill 2243, a measure that forbade all metropolitan cities within the state from “constructing, maintaining or operating any bus rapid transit system using a separate lane," effectively stifling any plans to move forward with the AMP.

I'm not sure of the driving forces behind this, or how it will impact the bus system in Chattanooga, but this strikes me as strange. While not always, many bus systems sometimes use a separate lane for certain places, especially loading/unloading.

Dear Lazy Web

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Dear Lazy Web: Recommendations for a Markdown/text/whatever to HTML slide generator? Using Landslide, but it's got some weird quirks...

99 Percent Invisible on the Citicorp building

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Many of you have read The New Yorker story about structural engineer William LeMessurier getting a call from an undergraduate student who told him that the New York City Citicorp building he designed would blow over in a strong wind (PDF), and re-doing his calculations, discovering that the undergrad was correct, and the efforts taken to stabilize the building.

the 99 Percent Invisible podcast tackles that, and talks to the undergrad, Diane Hartley. Linked here so I can get it on my phone and listen to it.

Smart Watches in 1981

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Time: This 1981 Computer Magazine Cover Explains Why We’re So Bad at Tech Predictions, has a Robert Tinney cover from Byte Magazine of a smart watch in which a guy is inserting a micro-floppy.

So for all of the whining about bad predictions, that miniature floppy is just about exactly the same size as a modern microSD card.

Computing without instructions

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The Page-Fault Weird Machine: Lessons in Instruction-less Computation:

Trust Analysis, i.e. determining that a system will not execute some class of computations, typically assumes that all computation is captured by an instruction trace. We show that powerful computation on x86 processors is possible without executing any CPU instructions. We demonstrate a Turing-complete execution environment driven solely by the IA32 architecture’s interrupt handling and memory translation tables, in which the processor is trapped in a series of page faults and double faults, without ever successfully dispatching any instructions. The "hard-wired" logic of handling these faults is used to perform arithmetic and logic primitives, as well as memory reads and writes. This mechanism can also perform branches and loops if the memory is set up and mapped just right. We discuss the lessons of this execution model for future trustworthy architectures.

Safety Speech

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Southwest Airlines flight attendant gives the ultimate safety speech (YouTube).

A whole bunch of lines I haven't heard before, well delivered.

Monday April 14th, 2014

Hey, I volunteered to give a talk on something I didn't know anything about. You should come! http://www.meetup.com/beawimp/events/175860382/

So y'all wondering about that US

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So y'all wondering about that US Airways errant tweet, very NSFW: https://twitter.com/SAPPHlRES/status/455788753257504768/photo/1

Keep misreading OutageDuration as

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Keep misreading "OutageDuration" as "OutrageDuration" and wondering if the field is large enough for what we need to store there.

Tom of Finland gets a stamp

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Whoah! Check Out Finland’s New Graphic Gay Bondage Stamps. New Finnish stamps feature homoerotic themes.

Finland is releasing a new line of stamps based on the work of Touko Laaksonen, aka "Tom of Finland".

If the USPS wanted to revive interest in paper letters...

Some comics you may not be reading:

I really need to revive the "export my RSS reader to a side bar" code...

Why the tech buses

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Why have the tech buses invaded San Francisco?:

Google, for one, would love to build housing near its campus in Mountain View. They have tried to get it permitted and it has been rejected, while at the same time the city has approved additional office space. In fact, the city of Mountain View expressly forbade housing in its citywide general plan for the area around the Bayshore Campus. This would have put large numbers of Google employees walking distance from work, while also providing a walkable neighborhood near a light rail station. Google has also started investing in affordable housing, including one project in Mountain View, but unfortunately it’s only 51 units. The truth is that suburban communities don’t want to build more housing, and Prop 13 gives existing owners little reason to care about increasing housing prices.

Why structuring your tax revenue models is important...

Porn & piracy

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Fascinating: Why are porn performers scared to talk about Internet piracy?

Seems like yet another situation where the stigmatization of porn, which leads to making payment processing and hosting and all sorts of other technical issues very difficult, means that the performers can't take control of the economics of their performance.

A performance comparison between Java and C on the Nexus 5. Java vs C++ on the Android platform, with some relative comparisons on an x86 architecture laptop.

Spoiler: C still wins. Just a little over 2x with a lot of manual Java optimization (at the expense of readability), but clearly the Java optimizers have a long way to go.

Sunday April 13th, 2014

"Kids ... runing wild..." I both hate and respect auto correct...

End of local control

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The Sacramento Coalition to Save Public Education: Kate Lenox: The CORE Waiver--the End of Local Control.

So apparently "No child left behind" was a very deliberate mechanism to funnel public dollars from well-off districts into private consultancies. I mean, really really deliberate.

Urban Naked

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Ethics & crashing vehicles

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Shadow forwarded along Joseph Rose: When a road-raging cyclist crashes, should you stop and help?.

Rose answers "no", and I've got to admit I'm not necessarily opposed to that; if one of the people who's threatened me with a motor vehicle crashed, I'd be hard pressed to find it in me to stop and help.

Saturday April 12th, 2014

Dear LibreOffice documentation

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Dear LibreOffice documentation: "Click the Glue Point icon..." doesn't help if I can't figure out WTF that icon looks like or where it is.

Friday April 11th, 2014

Oh, look, nodejs has npm, yet another freakin' package manager to figure out how to untangle. How attractive is that?

Because TC asked about a picture of the

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Because TC asked about a picture of the roof

NSA used Heartbleed

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Aaand, NSA Said to Have Used Heartbleed Bug, Exposing Consumers

The U.S. National Security Agency knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said.

on a bender

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Let's go on a bender - male versions of cartoon female heroines, from Ariel of The Little Mermaid to Princess Mononoke.

Read access to Google servers

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Detectify: How we got read access on Google's production serves. Once again demonstrating that XML is teh evil, and using an XML parser to parse XML is double evil.

Shared fence law

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New Shared Fence Law Effects Property Managers and Rental Property Management Companies. Because we're going to be re-doing the fence adjacent to one property shortly, and the details are handy to know.

Thursday April 10th, 2014

Charlene wanted to blow big bubbles

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Charlene wanted to blow big bubbles with her students, so we practiced: http://youtu.be/Roik7D4RB6A

Theo de Raad on OpenSSL deliberately

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Theo de Raadt on OpenSSL deliberately coding around OpenBSD's exploit countermeasures http://article.gmane.org/gmane.os.openbsd.misc/211963

When the morning's email tasks becomes

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When the morning's email tasks becomes going back and copy-pasting from previous emails to the same person. #shootmenow

Whoah: MyPy brings static typing to Python.

Tamiflu, Roche, and scams

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BBC News: Tamiflu: Millions wasted on flu drug, claims major report.

Drug companies do not publish all their research data. This report is the result of a colossal fight for the previously hidden data into the effectiveness and side-effects of Tamiflu.

The Cochrane Collaboration: Neuraminidase inhibitors for preventing and treating influenza in healthy adults and children

The Guardian: What the Tamiflu saga tells us about drug trials and big pharma:

First, the Cochrane researchers wrote to the authors of the Kaiser paper. By reply, they were told that this team no longer had the files: they should contact Roche. Here the problems began. Roche said it would hand over some information, but the Cochrane reviewers would need to sign a confidentiality agreement. This was tricky: Cochrane reviews are built around showing their working, but Roche's proposed contract would require them to keep the information behind their reasoning secret from readers.

When you want to know why the anti-vaccine movement is gaining ground? Look at Roche.

Wednesday April 9th, 2014

Petaluma PD praises

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Petaluma PD praises (Prescription) "Drug Take Back Day" as "at an all-time high". ... <-- I see what they did there.

Whoah. So apparently an apt-get upgrade wasn't enough to fix the heartbleed bug, but a subsequent reboot did. Scary .so caching issues?

LAPD tampering with recording devices

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LAPD officers tampering with their recording devices.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and other top officials learned of the problem last summer but chose not to investigate which officers were responsible. Rather, the officials issued warnings against continued meddling and put checks in place to account for antennas at the start and end of each patrol shift.

Can we please get some obstruction of justices/tampering with evidence charges against these guys?

"Front brake is not working properly"

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Shadow forwarded along whistler day 5 P.M - July 6th 2012 (YouTube), a little POV downhill mountain biking. To which I have three responses:

  1. Dude is insane.
  2. Where are your gloves?
  3. Holy crap, codecs are doing some amazing things with vertical shake that they weren't doing well a few years ago.

Something Positive on pets vs kids

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Something Positive on pets vs kids. http://www.somethingpositive.net/sp04072014.shtml

Tuesday April 8th, 2014

RG+ David Gerard

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RG+ David Gerard: "Internet Of Things" is just another word for "Unfixable Heartbleed Everywhere FOREVER".


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That feeling you get when the ONE slimeball person you've done business with in the last 6 years gets arrested along with a few others (governmental entity management level), for "fraud". While in French West Africa.

Who gets to be the man

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Economist: Lads' mags: Nuts goes tits up. Someone was saving that headline for years.

Courtesy of @EccentricFlower.

PayPal screws us, again

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Once again, don't depend on PayPal for anything: Paypal Strongarms Patreon to Deny “Adult” Content Creators Funding.

How much is that gallon of gas really

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How much is that gallon of gas really costing you, and how are the externalities being exploited? http://www.ethanol.org/pdf/contentmgmt/The_Real_Price_of_Gas.pdf

Edit: A couple of people have pointed out that this is coming from a web site with an axe to grind. Yeah, it is, and it can be ground back at 'em, too...

Monday April 7th, 2014

Humans replacing robots

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'Gods' Make Comeback at Toyota as Humans Steal Jobs From Robots:

... Toyota’s next step forward is counter-intuitive in an age of automation: Humans are taking the place of machines in plants across Japan so workers can develop new skills and figure out ways to improve production lines and the car-building process.

But it's okay, we can continue to ship our designs to be built in China, right?

Edit: Alt theory: The sinking global economy has just reverted to the place where it's cheaper to hire people than to automate.


Overheard coworker say "it's Chinatown"

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Overheard coworker say "it's Chinatown", and it turns out he was talking about an address, not speaking metaphorically.

Heartbleed OpenSSH bug

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Huh. Heartbleed Bug is a vulnerability in OpenSSH OpenSSL that, from my reading, says that in theory, if you connect to a compromised server, the server server can potentially read memory, including possibly private key information from your client server HTTPS machine.

No indication of an actual exploit in the wild, but you should make sure your SSH is up-to-date, and think about multi-layered security.

Apparently there are exploits in the wild, update your OpenSSL clients, and, yes, pay your CA to re-auth new keys.

Speaking of which, I realized recently that because I'm using my GPG and SSH keys without a passphrase, I'm at the mercy of anything I run as my primary user on my hardware.

Careful, kids...

office park in which I work is full of

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The office park in which I work is full of WTFery, but the lack of pedestrian accommodations at this intersection tops them.

In this picture I'm essentially standing in the parking lot of the retail strip mall of the development, so all of the workers on that loop in front of me need have to either cross without the crosswalk or a safe place to stand in the middle of the divided road, or go a distance either way to to the next intersection.

Math visualized

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April Fool's

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Amtrak boarding

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Amtrak's insane train boarding rules, explained:

However, at larger stations, Amtrak chooses to ignore 150 years of accumulated human wisdom about boarding trains. ...

Also delves into some of the "anti-terrorism" idiocy that Amtrak engages in.

That morning sitting in the office

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That morning sitting in the office chair all-over ache of a weekend of hard work. A lot of concrete paving stones and hay bales to the roof.

Dom Nader and Adrian Archer reshoot GQ

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Virus Shield

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The #1 new paid app in the Android Play store costs $4, has over 10,000 downloads, a 4.7 star rating, and is a total scam.

In which "Virus Shield" is shown to be a form with a toggle-able checkbox.

But there's an accountablity and trust issue that is going to have to be resolved in software...

Sunday April 6th, 2014

Amazed that some of the strawberries on

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Amazed that some of the strawberries on the roof have survived my mismanagement, but planted a bunch of herbs and bee flowers up there too

Many of you will be aware of the game 2048. Many of you will also be aware that there's a 2048-AI.

And if you watch the AI play for a short time, the lightbulb goes on and you can solve the game. 21344 points to get to the 2048 tile.

Rewrite Rules

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