Friday March 23rd, 2018

Had a jury summons this week

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Had a jury summons this week, never got called in. Kinda bummed that I rescheduled a dentist appointment and everything and missed the jury experience. I actually generally find it informative and cool to at least get to the courtroom.

Craigslist ends personal ads:

US Congress just passed HR 1865, "FOSTA", seeking to subject websites to criminal and civil liability when third parties (users) misuse online personals unlawfully.

Any tool or service can be misused. We can't take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully we can bring them back some day.

To the millions of spouses, partners, and couples who met through craigslist, we wish you every happiness!

A reminder that the female homicide rate dropped after Craigslist launched its erotic services platform. FOSTA is anti-woman.

Craigslist’s Effect on Violence Against Women Scott Cunningham, Baylor University; Gregory DeAngelo, West Virginia University; John Tripp, Baylor University.

That feeling 2 hours after hanging out

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That feeling 2 hours after hanging out with friends at a coffee shop that the decaf mocha you ordered wasn't. Hopefully tonight will be productive...

Thursday March 22nd, 2018

Cow Clicker & Privacy

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The author of Cow Clicker: My Cow Game Extracted Your Facebook Data

The Cambridge Analytica scandal is drawing attention to malicious data thieves and brokers. But every Facebook app—even the dumb, innocent ones—collected users’ personal data without even trying.

Desexing Kinsey

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Desexing the Kinsey Institute, about the new director and how the organization's mission and focus are changing:

Perhaps tellingly, Carter’s own research on vole monogamy has been cited by pro-abstinence and anti-pornography organizations to justify their positions. Physicians for Life, a pro-life association based in Alabama that also advocates for abstinence, uses Carter’s research to argue that monogamy is natural and built into our biology. They claim that sex out of wedlock will lead to a release of oxytocin that produces an expectation of commitment which is then disappointed, leading to “depression, dissatisfaction, and the disruption of future bonding potential.” Meanwhile, a website called Your Brain On Porn uses Carter’s oxytocin research to argue that strong pair bonds make us less likely to pursue addictive behaviors like porn-watching. Another anti-porn advocate uses Carter’s research to make a diametrically opposed argument: that oxytocin “bonds” men to porn and away from human partners.

Uber A/B tests vehicular manslaughter

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Ugh. The amount of time I've wasted today because the project uses jQuery so I didn't just go to using XMLHttpRequest directly... sigh.

Wednesday March 21st, 2018

Computer Vision for bike and bus lane enforcement

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New York Times: Bus Lane Blocked, He Trained His Computer to Catch Scofflaws

Now Mr. Bell is trying another tack — the 30-year-old computer scientist who lives in Harlem has created a prototype of a machine-learning algorithm that studies footage from a traffic camera and tracks precisely how often bike lanes are obstructed by delivery trucks, parked cars and waiting cabs, among other scofflaws. It is a piece of data that transportation advocates said is missing in the largely anecdotal discussion of how well the city’s bus and bike lanes do or do not work.

Source code at

Oh, and here's the author's version, just skip to this: Drivers Are Breaking the Law, Slowing Commutes and Endangering Lives. I Can Prove It — And Fix It.

Via JWZ: A rare use of CV for good instead of evil.

"django.db.connections is a dictionary-like object...", but you can't call "keys()" on it, because that would be too easy. Grrr.

kink blaming

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Log message of the day (so far)

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Log message of the day (so far): "your mercy for graceful operations on workers is 60 seconds"

100 Terabyte SSD

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Death of the sampling theorem

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Death of the sampling theorem?

A team from Columbia University led by Ken Shepard and Rafa Yuste claims to beat the 100 year old Sampling Theorem [1,2]. Apparently anti-aliasing filters are superfluous now because one can reconstruct the aliased noise after sampling. Sounds crazy? Yes it is. I offer $1000 to the first person who proves otherwise. To collect your cool cash be sure to read to the end.

Another innocent black man shot by police

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Tuesday March 20th, 2018

Won't You Be?

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Trailer for Won't You Be My Neighbor?, the documentary from Focus Features on Fred Rogers and Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. "In select theaters June 8", which I think means we're gonna go down to see it at The Rafael...

Kiddie Porn in the Blockchain

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I've been thinking about what the successor to the web might look like, and I'm super excited by the possibilities of distributed filesystems, but I've wondered about the possibilities of denial of service attacks based in inserting illegal content, like child pornography, into such systems: If someone can convince you to browse to a link containing that content, it's then instantiated in your local copy and... issues, even more than ending up with something like that in your browser cache (which can also be done with images that aren't visible in the final web page) follow.

Looks like someone else has been thinking about this too: Child abuse imagery found within bitcoin's blockchain

“Our analysis shows that certain content, eg, illegal pornography, can render the mere possession of a blockchain illegal,” the researchers wrote. “Although court rulings do not yet exist, legislative texts from countries such as Germany, the UK, or the USA suggest that illegal content such as [child abuse imagery] can make the blockchain illegal to possess for all users.”

Monday March 19th, 2018

Cambridge Analytica and Facebook

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Motherboard: Why We're Not Calling the Cambridge Analytica Story a 'Data Breach'

In 2014, a researcher collected the data through an app that asked users to take a personality test for academic research purposes. Around 270,000 people agreed to have their data collected through the test, which its creator, Aleksandr Kogan, defined as “a very standard vanilla Facebook app.” But thanks to Facebook’s terms of service and its API at the time, the app was also able to collect data of their friends. This gave the researcher, who later handed the data to Cambridge Analytica, the raw information of more than 50 million people, according to the reports, which were largely based on the account of a former Cambridge Analytica data scientist.

Basically, Facebook was operating as designed. The problem from Facebook's point of view is that a hostile foreign government used the data rather than, say, your average marketing department. Facebook's complaint here is essentially that they were disintermediated in the ad marketing process.

The New York Times: How Trump Consultants Exploited the Facebook Data of Millions, the Guardian: Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach

A critique of Go

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Lawrence Kestaloot: Ten reasons why I don't like Golang.

I looked a little bit at Go, saw that its performance numbers weren't great and went back to C++ (personal projects) and Python (where I have to work collaboratively) and Java (legacy code). It still intrigues me, but I think these are some interesting critiques...

On the other hand, on the collaborative C++ project I've got going I have been bad about coding styles, need to do some refactoring, and am not sure I mind having coding styles dictated by the language.

PBS, Russian trolls & political alignment

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Not endorsing, haven't read carefully, just transferring between computers: PBS: Inside the study showing conservatives retweeted Russian trolls 30 times more often than liberals

Performance Issues

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time openssl s_client -CApath /etc/ssl/certs/ -connect - showcerts <<< ""

takes .1 seconds on my server, .577 seconds from home (weird? Maybe I don't have the CA chain on the home server?), but it takes ~1.7 seconds to serve the static index.html on both the server and from the home machine.

WTF is Apache doing with those extra 1.1+ seconds?

GTA doesn't cause violence

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Two months of daily GTA causes “no significant changes” in behavior:

To correct for the "priming" effects inherent in these other studies, researchers had 90 adult participants play either Grand Theft Auto V or The Sims 3 for at least 30 minutes every day over eight weeks (a control group played no games during the testing period). The adults chosen, who ranged from 18 to 45 years old, reported little to no video game play in the previous six months and were screened for pre-existing psychological problems before the tests.

Nature: Molecular Psychiatry: Does playing violent video games cause aggression? A longitudinal intervention study. doi:10.1038/s41380-018-0031-7

Sunday March 18th, 2018

couple of coats of oil on the Ipe

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A couple of coats of oil on the Ipe before I start working with it.

Saturday March 17th, 2018

Making Decisions

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Iowa judge admits hundreds of his rulings were ghost-written by attorneys, raising a host of ethical and fairness concerns:

While it’s not unusual for judges to ask attorneys to submit proposed decisions for their consideration, those requests are made in the open, and the attorneys’ work is labeled a "proposed decision" and made part of the public court file, separate from the judge's ruling.

But Jacobson, who retired from the bench in October at age 69, admitted in a deposition last fall that he sometimes privately requested that attorneys for the winning side write up the decision and then email it to him rather than file it with the clerk of courts as a "proposed decision."

Friday March 16th, 2018

Kleveland Konvention

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Washington Post: Made By History: How social media spread a historical lie

Kambree Kawahine Koa, whose bio identifies her as a “political news contributor,” scored big with her offering, which garnered almost 10,000 likes and close to 1,000 replies. “The Democrats created KKK,” she tweeted over a photo of a Klan march captioned: “This photo was taken at the 1924 Democratic Convention. It was known as the ‘Klanbake’ (just in case you want to Google it).”

The only problem? There was no Klan march at the 1924 Democratic convention — the photo was actually taken in Wisconsin — nor was the convention ever actually known as the “Klanbake.”

(However, in 1924 Time Magazine did refer to that year's Republican convention in Cleveland as "the Kleveland Konvention.)

Legalization & Humboldt

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Thursday March 15th, 2018

Space Force

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Copied over from Facebook for posterity.

I've seen a number of the "walk up, not out" hashtag things referenced, and I'd like to take a little trip down memory lane.

In grade school, through high school, I was kind of a runt. Picked on and bullied a lot. Those of us who were outcast-ish tended to stick together, so, yes, I knew the people in high school who had Ruger 223s, and who'd done the appropriate hand-filing to make them fully automatic. I didn't go shooting with them because I had a sense of gun safety and I heard too many tales of accidental discharges to think that was a good idea, but come the Columbine shootings I thought "oh, yeah, those are my peeps and I know exactly which of my high school friends would have most likely been them".

Later in high school I discovered the print shop, which gave me some friends who were ... not of my socioeconomic class, and who were also more of the in crowd.

I forget why there was some protracted time out in front of the high school one day, but I was standing out there, and someone decided to threaten me with a knife. Two friends from print shop decided to casually put themselves in between the guy with the knife and me.

Someone else had seen the uncomfortable dynamic in the crowd and alerted an adult, and the school psychologist came over, completely misreading the situation, grabbed my two friends and threw them up against the wall.

You see, the problem wasn't the kids. The problem was that the bullies were working within the framework that the adults had set up and were maintaining. The bullies were just emulating the behavior they saw from the adult world around them.

There was a bright spot: At some point in my high school years we got a hip young principal in. I was skeptical, but it turned out he was somewhat for real...

Some months later, I had ridden my bicycle to school, came out to find that someone had completely kicked in my wheels. Just destroyed them. So I was out there trying to figure out what I was going to do, and he came by, and we exchanged a few words. In those words it became clear that we both knew exactly who the ringleader of the group that had destroyed my wheels was, that we didn't have any proof of who actually did the damage, and as we parted he asked me to, if I came up with such proof, tell him first rather than seeking revenge myself.

It was too late in my high school experience to make much of a difference, but all of a sudden there was an adult at the school who understood that there was violence boiling just under the surface at this high school in a relatively upscale area of suburban Connecticut, and who was an ally.

The school was Newtown High School. Newtown later became famous for ... well ... violence in schools.

I don't care what your stance on gun control or semi-automatic rifles with pseudo- mililtary stylings or whatever is, but please don't preach "walk up, not out" to kids: It's the adults who need to change to stop the bullying.

Blaming the victims of the system that the adults have created isn't gonna solve the problem.

Wednesday March 14th, 2018

Just paid circa 250 each to order

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Just paid circa $250 each to order three 2x8x16s. Yes, they're Ipe, but dayumn!

Reserve police officer

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Gun-trained teacher accidentally discharges firearm in California classroom, injuring student.

The weapon, which was not described, was pointed at the ceiling, according to a statement from the school, and debris fell from the ceiling.

Monterey County Weekly: Seaside teacher, councilman and reserve officer accidentally discharges weapon in gun safety demonstration.

I thought Common Core was supposed to protect against that...

Also, math is a hard subject...

(Okay, I'm also giggling over removing the target="_blank" from the link...)

Wikipedia to rebut conspiracies?

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From the departments of "uuh", "unforeseen consequences" and "I do not think Wikipedia is as reliable as they do": YouTube will add information from Wikipedia to videos about conspiracies.

Austing Bombings

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CNN: These are the victims of the Austin package bombings

(In case you've missed it, there have been 3 package bombs that detonated in Austin, two people killed so far. The bomber appears to be targeting the African-American community, although authorities haven't released any definitive links.)

Red an Green: It's kinda like Christmas

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