Wednesday April 25th, 2018

Border Patrol Assaults

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How the Border Patrol faked statistics showing a 73 percent rise in assaults against agents:

Almost the entire increase — 271 purported assaults — was said to have occurred in one sector, the Rio Grande Valley, in South Texas. A large number of the assaults supposedly occurred on a single day, according to charts and details provided by Christiana Coleman, a CBP public affairs spokesperson. In response to questions from The Intercept, Coleman explained in an email that “an incident in the Rio Grande Valley Sector on February 14, 2017, involved seven U.S. Border Patrol Agents assaulted by six subjects utilizing three different types of projectiles (rocks, bottles, and tree branches), totaling 126 assaults.”

Memes for Influence Campaigns

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meet telling sand to think

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There's a meme floating around Twitter about "5 words that describe programming", and Shadow found a great one: RT bletchley punk @alicegoldfuss:

meat telling sand to think

Wiping and rebuilding my Windows 10 VM

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Wiping and rebuilding my Windows 10 VM because I didn't have enough virtual hard drive space to install the OS update.

Tuesday April 24th, 2018

Electric Buses

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Bloomberg: Electric Buses Are Hurting the Oil Industry. Apparently China is adding 1,900 new electric buses a week, every thousand buses means 500 fewer barrels of oil per day, and that's making an impact on global fuel demand.

Games & Sex

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The Renegade Game Designer Who Aims to Challenge the Industry’s Attitudes Toward Sex. Says Robert Yang:

The game industry’s stance is that sex (and especially sexual violence) is okay as long as your game uses it solely for titillation, and never because it cares about the issue. That’s really fucked up. They specifically ban games like mine that are about consent, intimacy and sexual cultures — unless, of course, I add 40 hours of gun combat to it.

All the geeks on my social media feeds

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All the geeks on my social media feeds seem to be excited about some film that's coming out at the end of the week... But this one doesn't seem to be playing anywhere near me.


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Rope and Penis

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RT Marnanel Thurman -- #fbpe @marnanel, Replying to @stavvers

I think the problem is there's no emoji for penis, which I find really strange

Marnanel Thurman -- #fbpe @marnanel

Although Unicode *does* contain Egyptian hieroglyphs "D52 phallus" and "D53 liquid issuing from phallus"

But I thought the interesting bit was this commentary on 130b9:

julia hamilton @theacaciahouse

it's a sign contraction (sorry to be a nerd) - combining the sounds represented by the penis sign (mt) & the rope (s).

Sooo that's a common thing in Egyptian hieroglyphs, then?

The Industrial Apocalypse of 'Frostpunk' Is More Truth Than Fiction. An interesting review of the new game Frostpunk, and what it says about the fading of heavy industry in the United States.F

Dead man's finger

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Largo Florida cops used dead man’s finger in attempt to access his phone:

[The victim's fiance Victoria] Armstrong, 28, happened to be at Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home in Clearwater the day two detectives showed up with Phillip’s phone, she said. They were taken to Phillip’s corpse. Then, they tried to unlock the phone by holding the body’s hands up to the phone’s fingerprint sensor.

Via JWZ.

Beware of using biometrics for authentication.

Osmo fl2k SDR

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Spoofing cell networks and GPS signals with a $5 USB to VGA adapter. Using USB 3.0 VGA adapters based on the Fresco Logic FL2000 chip as a sofware defined radio transmitter.


After reverse-engineering the USB protocol of the FL2000 in 2016, Steve Markgraf discovered through experimentation that it is possible to operate the FL2000 in a way that both horizontal and vertical synchronization are disabled, thus creating a continous stream of samples. This work resulted in osmo-fl2k, which so far was used to transmit low-power FM, DAB, DVB-T, GSM, UMTS and GPS signals.

Monday April 23rd, 2018

I... I... guess I've always encountered female dryers?

Twitter partners seem kinda confused

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Twitter partners seem kinda confused about me. The real reason I'm scared of big data is how often it's so badly wrong...

18 year old who hacked CIA Directory

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18 year old who hacked CIA Directory John Brennan's AOL account when he was 15 sentenced to 2 years. There's probably a lesson from Brennan and Deutch &c about where we should get our CIA directors from...

Sunday April 22nd, 2018

Pratchett Reread

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Friday April 20th, 2018

Serving on a jury gave me tremendous

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Serving on a jury gave me tremendous respect for the critical thinking skills and rationality of my fellow citizens. Nextdoor has destroyed all that, and more.

Oregon Grew More Cannabis Than Customers Can Smoke. Now Shops and Farmers Are Left With Mountains of Unwanted Bud.

Hey, look, agriculture growing commodities is a crappy business to be in!

Much like grapes, I predict a split market, with big brands selling aggregated commodity grades (eg: the central valley wine brands, 2 Buck Chuck, Gallo and the like) and a boutique "wine country" like premium tourist experience.

Dieselgate continues

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Handmade Panda Candy

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Lofty Pursuits aka Public Displays of Confection (their mail order busines) has some competition to their video channel.

How to Make Handmade Candy With Panda Design (YouTube video). The coordination between the two candymakers is a joy to watch.

The company is Candy Labs.

Maybe Saddam Hussein actually did buy

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Maybe Saddam Hussein actually did buy from Niger, but then had it covered in ganache?

(Edit: Originally autocorrupt changed to "covered in panache", to which Elf Sternberg replied that ""Covered in Panache" is the name of my Prince tribute band!")

avoiding the C++ preprocessor

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Five examples for avoiding the C++ preprocessor. From using constexpr to some simple operator overloading to allow for stacking of bit significant enums and a few other things about modern C++ it'd be useful for me to internalize.

Thursday April 19th, 2018

Sex Trafficking myth debunking

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The Sex Trafficking panic is based on myths:

Good data is hard to come by in an industry kept largely in the shadows. That’s why, from 2012 to 2014, we spent nine months walking a stretch of road in Las Vegas well known as a gathering point for sex workers and their customers. We were part of a team who tailed along with those sex workers as they plied their trade, ducking into cars and alleyways to sell their services. We handed out condoms and other harm-reduction material, and we had a definite purpose — we were researchers, paid through an Obama-era grant from the US Department of Justice.

Linear Actuators

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Any of y'all with experience in motion control: I'm trying to price out building a vertical lift swim spa cover. The Covana is just under $10k. I think the Parker HST linear actuators would work perfectly, about 8' of total throw, about 4' retracted, about 100 lbs working load each (with some force left over for acceleration) but it seems like overkill to have something with half a millimeter of repeatability for a project that's just gonna move from extent to extent.

Any hints on:

  1. Getting a distributor to talk to me for a project that'll take 4 units and done.
  2. Possible other solutions, including other manufacturers whose products aren't as Googleable, or that might be more weather safe.
  3. Approximate pricing, so I know whether this is even worth bothering with before I do more engineering.

I tagged Larry over on Facebook...

You know a holiday's gone mainstream

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You know a holiday's gone mainstream when the AP seems to be annually re-running the story of the origin of 420:

How did you spend your light

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"How did you spend your light today?" "Sitting waiting for Ansible to finish installing enough Python packages to run itself."

Comey & law enforcement

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I thought the Endless Pool was gonna be

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I thought the Endless Pool was gonna be mainly a Charlene thing, but dang it's nice to get a good swimming rhythm going and not have to worry about pool length. I may be a swimmer again...

Wednesday April 18th, 2018

Fate/Grand Order

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A huge free-to-play game makes fun of its addicted players, and they love it

What’s interesting about Fate/Grand Order is that the game’s marketing features a vicious caricature of dedicated players. She’s a slobbering, lecherous, gambling-addicted little monster.

Fans love her.

Media which accept political ads have a

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Media which accept political ads have a vested interest in creating contentious elections and in amplifying bogus issues.

Erdős & Amphetamines

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Paul Erdős' amphetamine consumption (Reddit), a graph of Paul Erdos's number of publications over time, with the portions of his life in which he used amphetamines noted.

From the "Personality" section on his Wikipedia page:

After 1971 he also took amphetamines, despite the concern of his friends, one of whom (Ron Graham) bet him $500 that he could not stop taking the drug for a month. Erdős won the bet, but complained that during his abstinence, mathematics had been set back by a month: "Before, when I looked at a piece of blank paper my mind was filled with ideas. Now all I see is a blank piece of paper." After he won the bet, he promptly resumed his amphetamine use.

Free File Act

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Tuesday April 17th, 2018

Stay woke, bitches

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This PSA About Fake News From Barack Obama Is Not What It Appears

Oscar-winning filmmaker Jordan Peele has a warning for viewers about trusting material they encounter online.

Cool tech demo. And, yeah, good message. Via MeFi

Best Practices of Blogging

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Dangerous Meta: BEST PRACTICES, a repost of 12 YEARS OF WEBLOGGING.. Some good lessons about using social media today, originally posted December of 2011.

Does immigration lead to lower unemployment?

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The Migration Accelerator: Labor Mobility, Housing, and Aggregate Demand Greg Howard, MIT Job Market Paper, October 24, 2016:

Labor mobility affects how local shocks affect labor markets because people move to more prosperous areas. The traditional view, associated with Blanchard and Katz (1992), argues that migration mitigates these shocks, and relies on the assumption that inmigration makes local labor markets slack. In this paper, I empirically test that assumption by constructing an instrument for domestic inmigration based on previous migration patterns and current outmigration in other places. I document that within U.S.-migration causes a large local labor market boom, the opposite prediction of the traditional view. The effect is large: a migration shock equal to one percent of the MSA’s population causes a fall in the unemployment rate of half a percent. This is a surprising result in theory, but I show increased housing demand leads to two additional channels which can explain this finding. First, housing is a durable good, so the labor demand for construction is front-loaded. Second, a house price increase induces additional consumption by non-migrants. I show these channels are present in the data and account for the total effect. Finally, I use these estimates to conclude that migration amplifies local labor demand shocks by 15 percent.

Greta is skeptical

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Greta is skeptical.

little wild turkey

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A little wild turkey

Just another Sonoma County morning

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Just another Sonoma County morning

thing about mapping and representing

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The thing about mapping and representing real world data is how much energy gets put into schemas to allow us to let people call something whatever they want. Preferred pronouns are a trivial problem once you've dealt with maps or vehicle type data...

Video from the Sunday kid's build

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Video from the Sunday kid's build Wooden Boat Challenge:

Smart Contracts

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Upon 2020: Why smart contracts are not for you (or me). On paying $70k for legal services and getting paperwork with misspelled company names, and how that model doesn't really extend well to code...

Monday April 16th, 2018

Erotic Film School

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A report from a student at Madison Young's porn school:

I’m also here to explore a budding porn movement that the school represents, one about sexual empowerment and openness for people of all orientations and body types. There are now dozens of film festivals around the world—from Dan Savage’s nationwide HUMP! Film Festival to COVEN in Berlin to New York’s CineKink—that perpetuate this movement, a celebration of human sexuality in all its rich and slightly sticky tapestry. ...

Erotic Film School — A 30 Hour Certification Program for the New Pornographer

Your .8 vote counts

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Black Hats exploiting Codes of Conduct

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Why Your LARP’s Safety System Will Fail: A Hacker’s Guide to Engineering Player Safety. A need little perspective opener on building community guidelines and codes of conduct.

Sunday April 15th, 2018

Our ignominious defeat in this year's

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Our ignominious defeat in this year's Bodega Bay Wooden Boat Challenge...

year's build for the Bodega Bay Wooden

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This year's build for the Bodega Bay Wooden Boat Challenge