Wednesday April 24th, 2019

I want to do unpaid image classification

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A browser plug-in to make reCaptcha's "I'm not a robot" accurate. It replaces the "I'm not a robot" to "I want to do unpaid image classification".

How Nest, designed to keep intruders out of people’s homes, effectively allowed hackers to get in

Tara Thomas thought her daughter was just having nightmares. “There’s a monster in my room,” the almost-3-year-old would say, sometimes pointing to the green light on the Nest Cam installed on the wall above her bed.

Spoiler: She was right.

Security involves building multi-tiered systems which prevent compromise at several levels. This may involve not putting externally managed two-way AV systems in bedrooms.

HANDY bike hanger

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The pun is almost a little too much, but the concept is cool. Via Shadow: Built this HANDY bike wall mount

V8 & Spectre

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V8: A year with Spectre: a V8 perspective.

On January 3, 2018, Google Project Zero and others disclosed the first three of a new class of vulnerabilities that affect CPUs that perform speculative execution, dubbed Spectre and Meltdown. Using the speculative execution mechanisms of CPUs, an attacker could temporarily bypass both implicit and explicit safety checks in code that prevent programs from reading unauthorized data in memory. While processor speculation was designed to be a microarchitectural detail, invisible at the architectural level, carefully crafted programs could read unauthorized information in speculation and disclose it through side channels such as the execution time of a program fragment.

And, of course, JavaScript could be used to mount an attack, so the V8 team started looking at mitigation techniques.

Contractor Supply

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RT Scott Littlehale @FactChecker23

Why rising construction costs?
Consider the net "birth" rate of contractors ...
It's a more likely suspect than hourly labor costs (which haven't risen at extraordinary rates) as responsible for fast-rising const producer prices in the current cycle. https://www.bls.gov/web/cewbd/table10_4.txt

Accenture Hertz

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So far as I can tell, the business model of Accenture is essentially to hire inexperienced kids just out of college, burn them out with promise of a partnership, but that partnership will never come because a partner is someone whose family is well enough connected that they can bring in patronage business from other "born rich" kids.

This failure speaks more to failures of Hertz management in vendor selection than anything...

Accenture sued over website redesign so bad it Hertz: Car hire biz demands $32m+ for 'defective' cyber-revamp:

Among the most mind-boggling allegations in Hertz's filed complaint is that Accenture didn't incorporate a responsive design, in which webpages automatically resize to accommodate the visitor's screen size whether they are using a phone, tablet, desktop, or laptop.

Tuesday April 23rd, 2019

Fake Facebook profiles

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Facebook urged to tackle spread of fake profiles used by US police

A Guardian report recently revealed a secret network of accounts operated by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Automating Ethereum Theft

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This is fascinating: There's a bot scanning for weak Ethereum wallets, and emptying them. There's similar evidence that the same thing might be happening on the Bitcoin blockchain. There is, of course, no recourse should this happen to you.

What constitutes a strong wallet key? How do you end up generating weak wallet keys? Given the trend towards exponential compute, when does a strong wallet key become a weak wallet key?

A 'Blockchain Bandit' Is Guessing Private Keys and Scoring Millions

Sheriff Scott Jones

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Looking innocent

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Looking innocent. Preparing an ambush.

Monday April 22nd, 2019

misleading TurboTax

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I have been paying TurboTax their whatever just because it's easy, but the fact that they get a hundred something bucks out of me because of legislative value capture is getting harder and harder to stomach. And apparently they aren't even abiding by the terms of that very well:

Here’s How TurboTax Just Tricked You Into Paying to File Your Taxes — Come along as we try to file our taxes for free on TurboTax!

The book buyback scheme

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Helloooo money laundering: RT Brit @thatgirlfrmOhio:

Bernie spent $444k of campaign dollars on his own books in 2015

https://www.fec.gov/data/disbu...amount=400000&line_number=F3P-23

Southwest Commuters

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For some, working in Bay Area includes flight plans:

“I have to plan ahead, but I can get round-trip tickets for $191,” Maldonado told me. “If I do that every week, that’s almost $800 a month. But I can stay with my mother here, and our mortgage in Arizona is $1,800. It pencils out.”

Sunday April 21st, 2019

Ruth Wilson Gilmore

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A couple of month's ago I read Buzzy Martin's Don't Shoot! I'm The Guitar Man. It didn't land at first, it felt like a bunch of disconnected anecdotes, but at some point I realized that it felt that way because the author was trying to make sense of a bizarre environment that made no sense.

I've long been a fan of restorative justice, but I'm thinking that the notions may need to go deeper and broader than anything we can get from our current system. I'm interested in more views like this: Is Prison Necessary? Ruth Wilson Gilmore Might Change Your Mind

Induced Demand & Gentrification

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Panel Paper: Does Luxury Housing Construction Increase Nearby Rents?

Preliminary results using a spatial difference-in-differences approach suggest that any induced demand effects are overwhelmed by the effect of increased supply. In neighborhoods where new apartment complexes were completed between 2014-2016, rents in existing units near the new apartments declined relative to neighborhoods that did not see new construction until 2018. Changes in in-migration appear to drive this result. Although the total number of migrants from high-income neighborhoods to the new construction neighborhoods increases after the new units are completed, the number of high-income arrivals to previously existing units actually decreases, as the new units absorb a substantial portion of these households. On the whole, our results suggest that—on average and in the short-run—new construction lowers rents in gentrifying neighborhoods.

Ghosting on Jobs

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NPR: In a hot labor market, some employees are ghosting on bad bosses

Two things stand out:

  • Good for the lifeguard who bailed after getting screwed over. Hopefully the weasels who screwed him over will start to look at what they're paying vs what they lost and reconsider their hiring practices. If an employee has to come back and ask for a raise (especially in light of other people trying to hire them away), it means that the employer is not putting the effort in to manage the relationship.
  • Several of the examples here involve abusive scary situations, yet somehow the employees who leave think that this will reflect badly on the employee, and not the employer. This sort of institutionalized abuse is bullshit and we should call it out.

Publcity Stunts

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Rep. Duncan Hunter Faked a Border Wall Crossing on Facebook

Had Hunter actually crossed the border, he would have created even more trouble for himself. The congressman is currently out on bail because he has been indicted for allegedly misusing campaign funds for personal family expenses to pay for luxury family vacations, dentistry and other bills, and even his children’s school lunches. According to the terms of his bail, Hunter is not allowed to leave the country, so if he had actually crossed over to Mexico, it would have been a violation of his bail.

Saturday April 20th, 2019

Hardening SSH with 2fa. I'm gonna end up carrying around Ubikeys, aren't I?

Fascist Psy-ops

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Republican discussed violent attacks and surveillance with rightwingers — Washington state representative Matt Shea exchanged messages with far-right figures, chat records obtained by the Guardian reveal

The chats on the messaging app Signal took place in the days leading up to a supposed “Antifa revolt” on 4 November 2017. Throughout late October, far-right media outlets had been stoking fears of political conflict on the basis of planned peaceful protests by a small leftist group.

At Book Passage for Mieke Eerkens

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At Book Passage for Mieke Eerkens taking about her book All Ships Follow Me. A deep look into the traumas of war that follow down the generations, very recommended.

Friday April 19th, 2019

Punching Up

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RT Dread Singles 🔜 TCAF @hottestsingles:

“Always punch up never down” I whisper viciously as God’s eyes widen with the horror of recognition...

djinn nature of modern computing really

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The djinn nature of modern computing really comes to the fore when Siri uses phrases referring to accidental summoning...

Extreme Weather

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New Yorker: How Extreme Weather Is Shrinking the Planet is interesting in chronicling many more ways in which money is betting on climate change. If human-caused climate change is a false hypothesis, there's a shitload of money to be made betting against it, but, oddly, nobody is...

Thursday April 18th, 2019

More Facebook plaintext credentials

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Facebook admits to storing plaintext passwords for millions of Instagram users

The announcement came as an update to an incident from last month when the company admitted to storing plaintext passwords for hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users, tens of millions of Facebook users, and tens of thousands of Instagram accounts.

Mueller Report

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Washington Post has posted the Mueller report for download, and has running commentary as their reporters read it and as reactions come in

Also seen floating around the Barr version of the Gospels, including Matthew 22:36-39:

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘████ ███ ██ █████ ██ ██ ████ ██ ██ yourself.’

Super fun night last night calling

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Super fun night last night calling fill-in for Lawrence at the Singles & Pairs in Santa Rosa! It's always a challenge stepping up in front of a new floor and keeping them entertained and motivated while I figure out how their square dance style and knowledge interacts with my own

Rush on white supremacy & founding fathers

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Evidence-Based Dentistry

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The Atlantic — The Truth About Dentistry — It’s much less scientific—and more prone to gratuitous procedures—than you may think.

Some things to ponder as I wonder why my dentist is suggesting 4 month intervals on check-ups...

Wednesday April 17th, 2019

eInk calendar

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Raspberry Pi + eInk display calendar

I would love a full-color eink display. Charlene and I would both like some digital picture frames, but the ones commercially available are all pretty crappy emissive displays that have to do some sort of presence and light detection to turn on and off.

Really We've got people driving around

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Really? We've got people driving around Petaluma with snow tires? While we're complaining about potholes?

Tuesday April 16th, 2019

Betting on Climate Scientists

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Kevin Drum (in Mother Jones): Money Talks, and It Says Climate Change Is Real.

When Republican senators make fools of themselves pretending that climate change is fake, they know there are no consequences for being wrong.¹ Traders don’t have that luxury. What they care about is accurately hedging risk, and the only way to do that is to listen to climate scientists and make their bets based on the real world. So regardless of whether they’re personally liberal or conservative, that’s what they do.

Le Grand Nuage de Magellan

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From MeFi: My God it's full of STARS, comes 1,060-hour image of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) captured by Amateur Astronomers.

The image is a mosaic made of 16 smaller fields of view, which, once stitched together form a high-resolution image of 204 Million of pixels! As of matter of fact, this is not the work of a single person but by a team of five french amateur astronomers called "Ciel Austral"Jean Claude CANONNE, Philippe BERNHARD, Didier CHAPLAIN, Nicolas OUTTERS et Laurent BOURGON.

"Ciel Austral" owns a remotely-controlled observatory located in the most prestigious skies of the planet, in Chile, and more precisely at the El Sauce Observatory (Coquimbo Region). A 160-mm APO-refractor telescope and a Moravian CCD were used to obtain this wonderful field. The datasets were taken over several months, ranging from 2018 and 2019. The heavy files handled represent 620 GB and needed few hundreds of hours to get out of the image processing step! Once stacked together, they make up the stunning figure of 1060 hours of exposure. If you are more curious, we invite you having a look at their official website here.

Le Grand Nuage de Magellan

Fourier Transform

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Fantastic interactive introduction to the Fourier transform. Worth it for that opening animated GIF alone.

Spiderman Been Black

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SPIDER-MAN BEEN BLACK — The MICHEAUX MISSION

There was one detail that does stick out, however. My mother did not play with the images her kids were exposed to. All the art in our house had black people in them. Our books had to feature Black characters or, at the very least, anthropomorphic animals (lot of Beatrix Potter and Frog & Toad in my house.) My sister had all Black baby dolls, and me and my brother were only supposed to play with Black/nonwhite action figures.

If you know anything about nerdom, you can figure out how this was a problem. ...

#MeToo repentance

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Jessica Valenti: What Does #MeToo Repentance Look Like?

Of all of the high-profile men who have been accused of sexual misbehavior — from violent assaults to indecent exposure — not one has demonstrated a sustained or serious commitment to making amends. There have been no large public donations to organizations that fight sexual violence, no volunteer hours put in at women’s shelters, no discussion of books read or advice taken.

Why is it so hard to just issue a sincere apology?

Uber Prospectus

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Oh this is brilliant: RT Colin Charles @bytebot

A lot has been said about the Uber IPO prospectus but maybe none as cogent as this FT comment.

He then embeds a comment, which is behind a paywall, as an image:

horsesatemymoney

Abbreviated version of prospectus

We don't make money

We probably will never make money

Our current business relies on shareholders to fund cheap cab rides in the hope that regulators will let us become a monopoly and charge whatever we want but the regulators are not playing along

We have therefore spent more money expanding into other low margin highly competitive activities like food delivery or trucking despite there being lots of specialist logistics firms so not obvious how we are going to make any money there either.

We hope in the future there will be driverless cars and that we can then make money because no drivers but other people are developing them too

We have annoyed lots of regulators so we have lots of disputes and problems with regulators

We don't pay much tax and have done lots of aggressive tax planning and so we have lots of disputes and problems with tax authorities

We don't employ anyone (or we say we don't) but we have lots of de facto employees and so we have lots of disputes and problems with drivers and employment tribunals

We don't actually own many assets because we managed to get our drivers to provide their own cars

We have an app but other cab companies also have apps

Current investors want to get out so we hope you will buy some shares anyway because you have heard of us also we need more money to fund the businesses that don't make money

We are expanding into more business lines that don't make money and we need more money to fund those

We are really big and you have heard of us plus we say we are a tech disruptor so don't worry that we make no money it will all be great because you will be an Uber investor

high-quality news outlets

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RT Jay Rosen @jayrosen_nyu:

A sentence about Facebook and news that I want you to read and ponder. "Supporting high-quality outlets would inevitably make it look like the platform was supporting liberals, which could lead to trouble in Washington, a town run mainly by conservatives."

And a link to where the quote came from: Wired: 15 Months of Fresh Hell Inside Facebook:

Scandals. Backstabbing. Resignations. Record profits. Time Bombs. In early 2018, Mark Zuckerberg set out to fix Facebook. Here's how that turned out.

Biological ... underpinnings of religious fundamentalism

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Neuropsychologia: Biological and cognitive underpinnings of religious fundamentalism.

Abstract Beliefs profoundly affect people's lives, but their cognitive and neural pathways are poorly understood. Although previous research has identified the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) as critical to representing religious beliefs, the means by which vmPFC enables religious belief is uncertain. We hypothesized that the vmPFC represents diverse religious beliefs and that a vmPFC lesion would be associated with religious fundamentalism, or the narrowing of religious beliefs. To test this prediction, we assessed religious adherence with a widely-used religious fundamentalism scale in a large sample of 119 patients with penetrating traumatic brain injury (pTBI). If the vmPFC is crucial to modulating diverse personal religious beliefs, we predicted that pTBI patients with lesions to the vmPFC would exhibit greater fundamentalism, and that this would be modulated by cognitive flexibility and trait openness. Instead, we found that participants with dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) lesions have fundamentalist beliefs similar to patients with vmPFC lesions and that the effect of a dlPFC lesion on fundamentalism was significantly mediated by decreased cognitive flexibility and openness. These findings indicate that cognitive flexibility and openness are necessary for flexible and adaptive religious commitment, and that such diversity of religious thought is dependent on dlPFC functionality.

doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2017.04.009

YouTube attempts to discredit breaking news

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YouTube's New Fact-Check Tool Flagged Notre Dame Fire Coverage And Attached An Article About 9/11

Not only can they recommend Nazi videos when you're watching cute cats, they can discredit breaking news. Good on ya there, YouTube...

Just so I have a record of it somewhere

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Just so I have a record of it somewhere: Threw my back out (twisting to grab something) on the couch on Sunday. It hurts like hell. Just keep powering through it, I guess...

Monday April 15th, 2019

In light of Paris' Notre Dame cathedral burning down today, a thread on the renovation and maintenance of the structure: RT Maggie Koerth-Baker @maggiekb1

Husband (architect and engineer) pointed out that whoever the contractor on this Notre Dame renovation was, they're legally and financially fucked now. That got me curious about the firm ... which led to some old articles and, oh man, the aftermath of this is gonna be messy ...

Articles linked:

Of course when I first read of the fire, I saw a mention that it was being done in the context of a $6.8M renovation, and I wondered what the conversion rate was between millions of dollars and hushed up molesting priests. Let's put this in perspective: Art doesn't become famous because of something intrinsic (see Electroniccopyavailableat:https://ssrn.com/abstract=32583181Fame as an Illusion of Creativity: Evidence from the Pioneers of Abstract Art, doi:10.2139/ssrn.3258318 ), this is a monument to an institution of institutionalized abuse, and maybe we should start evaluating our cultural treasures by what they really stand for, rather than how they're romanticized in a Victor Hugo novel...

Boat interior

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Boat interior

Second pass at the rig geometry

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Second pass at the rig geometry

Affixing the rudder

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Affixing the rudder

Think we're getting pretty close on the

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Think we're getting pretty close on the design for this year's Bodega Bay Wooden Boat Challenge... https://youtu.be/EXYjvsjwfkI