Tuesday April 22nd, 2014

The OpenBSD folks are going through the OpenSSL code base and refactoring. Might be worth a read through to see what kinds of security mistakes people make, and ways to improve your own code...

Monday April 21st, 2014

Ethanol won't save us

Dan Lyke comments (0)

Study casts doubt on climate benefit of biofuels from corn residue:

The researchers, led by assistant professor Adam Liska, used a supercomputer model at UNL's Holland Computing Center to estimate the effect of residue removal on 128 million acres across 12 Corn Belt states. The team found that removing crop residue from cornfields generates an additional 50 to 70 grams of carbon dioxide per megajoule of biofuel energy produced (a joule is a measure of energy and is roughly equivalent to 1 BTU). Total annual production emissions, averaged over five years, would equal about 100 grams of carbon dioxide per megajoule -- which is 7 percent greater than gasoline emissions and 62 grams above the 60 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as required by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act.

On domestic violence

Dan Lyke comments (0)

RT rivenhomewood ‏@rivenhomewood

States with no-fault divorce 2003: 30% drop in domestic violence, female suicide down 11%, wife murder down 10% https://gsbapps.stanford.edu/researchpapers/library/RP1828.pdf

Posted because it's pretty sure that the social conservatives' attack on divorce is ramping up pretty hard.

Anti-pollution efforts might set a precedent

Dan Lyke comments (2)

Why Are 20 Far-Away States Trying To Block The Cleanup Of The Chesapeake Bay?.

The American Farm Bureau, a powerful agricultural interest group which has sued the EPA on behalf of farmers multiple times before, has led the charge against the EPA, claiming they’re concerned the agency’s actions in the Chesapeake Bay region could lead to similar plans in the Mississippi River watershed. The Mississippi runs through the heart of agricultural country in the U.S. and empties into the Gulf of Mexico, a water body that’s been plagued by massive dead zones for years.

Via MeFi. I would like to change the rhetoric in this country to where we start looking at polluters who take economic advantage of externalities as the sort of evil we don't tolerate.

Sunday April 20th, 2014

Auth Sucks

meuon comments (2)

I'm having to build a set of normal human facing web interfaces that allow "logging in" in multiple ways, that include the possibility of a person logging in with an email address and password that is on multiple accounts. It's wrong for many many reasons, but for this possible business process flow, it's needed. Normally, I force a 1:1 relationship of the login to the account and use "basic auth" for everything. It sure solves a lot of issues from the programming perspective.

As I do my "updating my thought processes, process" I found a helpful overview of securing sessions with PHP, and as good as it it, it also grates on me how bad authentication is on the web as a whole. Cookies and sessions and encryption and hashes and identity and.. and.. are just intertwined in terribly b0rken and complex ways and we keep breaking the rules to "make it work" and be easier for the end users...

http://www.newscientist.com/ar...t-the-meshnet-that-survives.html Need to read this in detail later, looks like a good overview from a non-technical perspective.

More: http://oti.newamerica.net/ seems to be the interesting take-away. Which takes you to: http://commotionwireless.net/download/routers/ for an OpenWRT variant

Time to play with these...

In fairness to Mr Carillo

Dan Lyke comments (0)

In fairness to Mr. Carrillo, I too have been pantsless in situations that seem like bad judgement in retrospect. But never had to explain...

For those of you not in the North Bay, there's a circus of a trial going on over one of our County Supervisors getting busted for stalking/peeping when he came home blasted at 2:30 in the morning, grabbed a couple of cold ones, and went over and knocked on a neighbor's door to ask if she wanted a drink. And then attempted to climb in her bedroom window, allegedly...

“In retrospect I should have had my pants on,” Carrillo told the officers.


Sheet music from player piano rolls

Dan Lyke comments (0)

Transcribing [Player] Piano Rolls, the Pythonic Way.

Using video of a player piano roll moving through the piano while the player was running to create a long image of the roll, and then creating Lilypond notation to print out sheet music.

Via Hackaday, courtesy of Tara Calishain

Reading @robkroese's latest

Dan Lyke comments (0)

Reading @robkroese's latest, Mercury Revolts, and giggling regularly. Recommended.

Colorado Coal War

Dan Lyke comments (2)

Ludlow: One hundred years of silence

Frank Petrucci’s three brothers and a sister died in the Colorado Coal War. His family and the nation still struggle to talk about it.

A little more on this era of American history in high school would, I think, make for a better informed populace.

Saturday April 19th, 2014

Wish Daily Acts would do a now that

Dan Lyke comments (0)

Wish Daily Acts would do a now that you've sheet mulched your lawn how do you go back to an easy to maintain yard workshop.

I know that the organization of PVC

Dan Lyke comments (0)

I know that the organization of PVC fittings in the big box hardware store makes sense to somebody, however....

Friday April 18th, 2014

Things which I shouldn't admit

Dan Lyke comments (4)

Things which I shouldn't admit: 104904 in 2048

Cleaning up Wischemann Hall after

Dan Lyke comments (0)

Cleaning up Wischemann Hall after another excellent Redwood Rainbows potluck.

New Age Gen

meuon comments (0)


It is a sign of things to come. The future will be an interstellar blossoming of understanding. We must learn how to lead dynamic lives in the face of discontinuity.

Useful for warm fuzzy filler for websites... or Burning Man Camp Placement Applications.

Melbourne Cup betting vs tech startups

Dan Lyke comments (0)

How to make Atlassian the rule, not the exception: StartupAUS director Jana Matthews, just for this pull:

...And as for venture capital, Australians bet more money on the Melbourne Cup each year than they put in venture capital funds that “bet” on tech start-ups. ....

Physicists sure can be promiscuous

Dan Lyke comments (0)

Cracked.com: 6 famous geniuses you didn't know were perverts. Although if you didn't know James Joyce was a little pervy, you definitely weren't paying attention.

Sound cannons against speeders

Dan Lyke comments (0)

Kickass! Missouri is taking positive steps towards highway safety with LRAD sound cannons on maintenance vehicles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fr3zUG86Ns#t=21

Thursday April 17th, 2014

Git man pages

Dan Lyke comments (0)

Sex and art

Dan Lyke comments (1)

Wednesday April 16th, 2014

Fast pinewood derby

Dan Lyke comments (0)

EASY Pinewood Derby Car WINS using Science!!! (YouTube). How to make the ultimate (race legal) Pinewood Derby race car.

In case there are any Cub Scouts in your life...

Wow: Great takedown of bike lanes vs cyclists taking the whole lane: http://streetsmarts.bostonbike...4/15/is-this-street-wide-enough/

Edit for the archives: http://vimeo.com/92095170

I have been wanting to do a nutrition

Dan Lyke comments (0)

I have been wanting to do a nutrition db query app for years, and now Shawn is. Backed. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/foodstats-android-app

Something about the word

Dan Lyke comments (0)

Something about the word "hermeneutics" makes me think it's the Fred Gwynne character's answer to Dianetics.

Feinstein pissed off that we know the CIA tortured

Dan Lyke comments (0)

Leaked Report Says CIA Tortured Illegally; Feinstein's Mad Somebody Leaked It:

The McClatchy news service reported Friday that it had obtained a leaked copy of a Senate Intelligence Committee report that contradicts pretty much everything the CIA has said about its Detention and Interrogation Program. Here's the list of the report's conclusions (PDF), but let me just break it down for you:

  • The CIA tortured people;
  • Even under to the DOJ's definition of "torture," it tortured people;
  • It lied about how many people it tortured;
  • It lied about how brutal the torture was;
  • It "avoided or impeded" congressional oversight;
  • It lied about whether the torture worked; and
  • The torture didn't work.

Via JWZ.

Fundraiser for 'FoodStats' mobile app

Shawn comments (4)

As my first foray into a new way to think about employment, I've launched a crowd-funding campaign to build an open source Android (and later iOS, Windows Phone, etc.) app for looking up nutrition information. The initial focus is on getting nutrition stats for restaurant menus, but it will also support USDA data for individual foods.

At this early stage I could really use help spreading word about the campaign. (The short URL http://tiny.cc/foodstats points to the campaign for now, and will redirect to the app afterwards.) The app should be especially useful for those with diabetes, high blood pressure and/or varioous dietary restrictions.

The full announcement can be found on my blog.

Thanks for your help :-)

Swipe, but not assemble

Dan Lyke comments (3)

Children can swipe a screen but can't use toy building blocks, teachers warn:

"I've spoken to a number of nursery teachers who have concerns over the increasing numbers of young pupils who can swipe a screen but have little or no manipulative skills to play with building blocks – or pupils who can't socialise with other pupils, but whose parents talk proudly of their ability to use a tablet or smartphone."

(via /., from the Manchester, UK Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference>). I'm sure some of this is just pearl clutching, but the Waldorf culture in which I grew up made extra effort to keep kids from being exposed to technology, and ... I have many issues with Waldorf education, but I'm not sure that I disagree with the general sentiment.

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

Dan Lyke comments (1)

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

Dan Lyke comments (3)

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

Dan Lyke comments (3)

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

Dan Lyke comments (1)

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

Dan Lyke comments (0)

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

Dan Lyke comments (0)

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

Keep misreading OutageDuration as

Dan Lyke comments (0)

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

Dan Lyke comments (0)

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

Dan Lyke comments (0)

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

Dan Lyke comments (0)

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

Dan Lyke comments (0)

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

Dan Lyke comments (0)

Ethics & crashing vehicles

Dan Lyke comments (0)

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.