The Longest Now


Utter License, n.: A minimal way to grant all rights to a work
Tuesday October 21st 2014, 3:03 am
Filed under: %a la mod,Aasw,null,poetic justice,wikipedia

[You may do UTTERLY ANYTHING with this work.]

UTTER ♥2

 

Utter details and variants



Ripeness being all: Snowden’s secret and the web’s New Nihilism
Monday July 22nd 2013, 11:25 am
Filed under: Aasw,Blogroll,fly-by-wire,Not so popular,null,Too weird for fiction

Heller via Yossarian:

He felt goose pimples clacking all over him as he gazed down despondently at the grim secret Snowden had spilled…
Man was matter, that was Snowden’s secret. Drop him out a window and he’ll fall.

Set fire to him and he’ll burn. Bury him and he’ll rot, like other kinds of garbage.
The spirit gone, man is garbage. That was Snowden’s secret. Ripeness was all.



Ow.
Monday July 08th 2013, 8:05 pm
Filed under: metrics,null,Too weird for fiction

Pity US Commerce and our Econ. Dev. Administration.



A Raw Interview: Ruslan Tsarni, uncle of the Boston bombers.
Friday April 19th 2013, 9:15 pm
Filed under: fly-by-wire,null

Update: Dzokhar was captured alive, around 20:30 EST, after hiding in a boat in a Watertown backyard.

@Boston_Police: CAPTURED!!! The hunt is over. The search is done. The terror is over. And justice has won. Suspect in custody.

This public interview from today with Ruslan Tsarni, uncle of the Tsarnaev brothers, is impressive. It seems to be from a conclave of media who turned up on his property; and highlights what the media look like as a herd without preptime, and what a family man looks like when stripped to his instinctive graces.

Dzhokhar, if you are alive, turn yourself in. And ask for forgiveness, from the victims, from the injured, and from those who left, ask forgiveness from these people.”   Businessweek

Arrested Friday April 19, 20:40 EST



A Horrific Day in Boston – Death and Mayhem at the Marathon
Monday April 15th 2013, 10:33 pm
Filed under: indescribable,null

Today was a horrifying day for Boston – our annual celebration of pride, unity, and Spring put on hold for bombs and ambulances. My thoughts are with those who have been injured or killed.

We have these strange interplays of increased safety and increased risk at large public events – it seems to me there is more we could do to shift the equilibrium towards safety in numbers. Even in the face of anonymous attacks from a distance.

But today we mourn.



Max Kennerly’s vote for doing something about Aaron Swartz’s death
Thursday January 24th 2013, 5:28 pm
Filed under: knowledge,null,Uncategorized

The National Criminal Justice Commission Act (NCJCA) Spearheaded by Jim Webb (D-VA) is a first step towards high-level reform of our benchmarks for criminal justice – what is considerd acceptable, and what our justice system should be for in the first place. Most observers agree the system is broken in fundamental ways. It’s not clear to me why a review is controversial; but this act got only 57/100 votes in the Senate in 2011 and was filibustered. (The bill was Tracked over its history by the BulletPath Legislation Channel.)

Max Kennerly, one of the more level-headed critics of Aaron’s legal prosecution last year and this, suggests supporting the NCJCA this term. It was already very close to being passed.

Want to do something right now? Call up your Senators and Representative and tell them you’d like them to start moving again on the National Criminal Justice Commission Act. It failed in the Senate in late 2011, but it’s still bouncing around. Get it on Congress’ radar again.

Max’s Blog



From a sysadmin: the perils of reporting trouble (from MeFi)
Sunday January 13th 2013, 6:10 pm
Filed under: chain-gang,meta,null

As a former sysadmin at MIT, I was very curious about this case and eager for the facts to come out, and I guess they can, but not like this. Definitely not like this. I also had the job of chasing intruders out of a segment of MIT’s network (fairly light duty, actually), and having been there I will state the following publicly, because I am pissed off today. Seriously pissed off.

These over the top prosecution of nuisance intrusions makes sysadmins like me highly reluctant to initiate communication with the feds. The threat of criminal prosecution was enough to make Mr. Swartz back off from his actions. That’s why MIT and JSTOR backed off. Someone at DOJ decided to keep going, and he just made life harder for federal investigators in countless other cases, who will not be getting that first phone call from a sysadmin.

When an intruder is on my network, before I call the authorities, I want to know that the authorities will exercise judgement and prosecute accordingly. If he’s a criminal trying to use my resources for crimes, that’s one thing. If he’s a kid or a kook being a nuisance, then the authorities have a duty to exercise precisely enough muscle to scare him off my network and call it a day. If I have reason to think that the authorities will throw the book at a someone who is a mild nuisance, then I won’t make the phone call. I will investigate the intrusiion myself, kick him off myself, and keep my fucking mouth shut. These prosecutions are a waste of money, and today one of them became a waste of a life.



Aaron Swartz, scholar, activist, and Internet hero, is dead.
Saturday January 12th 2013, 3:28 pm
Filed under: Blogroll,knowledge,meta,null,Seraphic,wikipedia

Aaron took his life yesterday. I am still finding it hard to believe.

His ongoing court case overshadows his death, so let me get that out of the way: 
He was living through a two-year federal case which had only become more nightmarish since last year.  (JSTOR stated it did not want a trial, and has steadily been releasing the PD articles in question and more for free public use; yet the prosecution, continuing its outrageous abuse of discretion, declined to settle and tripled their felony charges to cover up to 35 years in prison.)

Friends and family were helping him plan a campaign to spread the word about the unreasonableness and inequity of the trial. Its uncertainty was intensely stressful, even for those of us who lived only the tiniest fraction of it.  As Lessig notes, the prosecutors – Stephen P. Heymann (and at times Scott L. Garland), working in Carmen M. Ortiz‘s Cybercrime unit – should be taking a long hard look in the mirror and asking themselves what they are doing with their lives.


Aaron was a dear friend, and one of the most decent men I have known.  The only times I have seen him truly angry was in response to some social wrong; and he actively looked for ways to find and eliminate injustice. He always considered how to act morally – even when this meant being at odds with local social norms – and regularly paused at forks in his life to think about how to live so as to benefit society.

He kindled ideas from those nearby, and freely passed on his own.  Made mistakes often and tried to learn from them, usually publicly. His transparency was a useful meterstick for me. Ages ago, when we first met, I remember him brainstorming ideas about community and wiki design with Zvi and me; about learning and unlearning, society and ideals, civics and collaboration.  Once his curiosity was piqued about a subject he would pursue it until he could write about and explain it.  

~ ~~~ ~

I spent last night with mutual friends who live now in his old apartment, in a room that was once his; remembering the many great projects he started and inspired – especially the little gems, the personal quirks and insights, the inspiring ideas that became single-purpose services, or calls to arms. (We never did start a dog-walking service for data, but the idea abides.) Rereading some of his writings, I remember the many opportunities missed for synthesis, reframing, and clarity – about how life works, and how to live it.

Everyone has idealized dreams — what would you do with an unlimited wish? — about long-term projects worth devoting one’s life to, to transform the world. Dreams cherished but rarely attempted.  Aaron was the only person I felt completely comfortable sharing mine with.  We had a little game: a couple times a year we would meet in a nameless cafe, and he would ask for ‘rabbinical’ advice on moral quandaries, and I would ask for ‘professional’ advice on realizing societal dreams. I don’t know that he needed my advice, but I always looked forward to his. There was usually at least one book suggestion from his endless reading list that answered an open question of mine. And no matter how grandiose the dream, he would understand, clarify, laugh, counterpoint, help tune mental models, and remind me to get to it. And we never had quite enough time.

I miss him very, very, very much.   Part of my own future has gone missing too.

Somewhere, celestials are being taught to tune the cosmos.

 

In Memoriam:
Quinn. TBL. Grimm. Cory. Larry (^2). Cyrus Farivar.

The court case.
Alex Stamos (on the wrongness of the case).
New York Times (front page).
The Guardian (front page + 4 more articles)
The WSJ.

In his own words:
How to work.
How we stopped SOPA.
On feeling low and key limes.

From the Boston Wikipedia Meetup on August 18, 2009, by Sage Ross:



Boston to Amherst: 523 hours, across the ocean
Sunday December 16th 2012, 7:53 am
Filed under: indescribable,international,null

I asked Google Maps how long it would take to get from Boston to Amherst, MA (actual distance: ~90 miles almost due West, under 2 hours by car.) The answer:

Suggested route:
I-90 E                               19,456 mi, 523 hours

Driving directions to Amherst, MA, USA
This route has tolls.
This route includes a car transport.
This route includes a ferry.
This route may have road closures.

The “E” in “I-90 E” was the first indication that something was wrong. Then I digested the distance and time… and scrolled down a few pages. Now any route planning that takes you literally more than halfway \ around the world had better take in some amazing sights along the way. Luckily, this was the case.

The map knew where I was heading, but decided I started in Boston, Lincolnshire in the UK. And then decided I would want to travel the long way round: West. Of course that lets me take in Hong Kong, Hawai’i, and California… maybe worth the 3 weeks of transit.  Let’s take a look:

The route straight across southern Russia looks interesting.  Also the curving route through China to Hong Kong.

329. Jet ski across the Pacific Ocean
330. Continue straight
331. Slight left onto 県道350号線

Now we’re talking!  Apparently you can jet ski straight from HK to Japan…  maybe your car can use the teleporter.  Don’t miss the slight left just past the big landmass.

389. Sail across the Pacific Ocean
390. Turn right onto Kalakaua Ave

Note it took 60 directions just to cut across Japan before getting back into the ocean… welcome to Hawai’i!  From here the rest was pretty straightforward: Sail across the Pacific once more, then drive across the US, picking up I-90 (remember that?) soon after making the mainland.  All in all, an enlightening trip and look into the heart of the route-finder.  Which clearly has good taste in beaches.



Drone operator: 5,000 Feet Is The Best (Documentary)
Saturday December 08th 2012, 3:58 pm
Filed under: indescribable,international,null,Too weird for fiction

Omer Fast (video).

GrindingAles Kot & discussion of the recent NYPD drone controversies.



FOOF and A. G. Streng : furiously fulminating fun
Friday November 02nd 2012, 10:50 am
Filed under: Not so popular,null

Hydrogen sulfide, for example, reacts with four molecules of FOOF to give sulfur hexafluoride, 2 molecules of HF and four oxygens… and [1.8 MJ/mol]

(H2S + 4FOOF –> SF6 + 2HF + 4O2 + 1.8MJ/mol)

That’s a pretty good energy release for 300g of reagents at 200K. As an aside, other than scouring for pubs and citations, who follows up on work like this? Is there a way to track ongoing research by compound?

Via the excellent Derek Lowe.



!!!!! Move over, Makmende! Aki Ra is Love
Tuesday September 25th 2012, 5:26 pm
Filed under: fly-by-wire,indescribable,international,null,Too weird for fiction

Love and death and hope. Here’s wishing him a fruitful and productive year.



Organ Trail: road trip through zombie apocalypse and dysentery
Tuesday August 14th 2012, 5:54 am
Filed under: citation needed,Glory, glory, glory,null

A Flash remake of the ’70s classic.



Awkward deadpan rant: China reviews human rights within the US
Wednesday May 30th 2012, 7:00 am
Filed under: indescribable,international,Not so popular,null,Uncategorized

This document is difficult to read.  It is a Chinese government doc trying with awkward sincerity to review human rights in the US by our own standards, most of which the authors clearly find arbitrary.

It’s like a baby wikipedia article: full of random tidbits that happen to have been published somewhere online.  With a mix of real issues and rumors, minimal context, axe-grinding, and undue weight to whatever attracted media attention.  It lacks the measure and professionalism of the US report it is responding to (though it gets partial credit for making a handwave at its sources, which our reports should do much more of).

But it does point out one oversight in our list of country reports: we do not publish an internal report on developments within the US in the same format — though the relevant data is gathered by other parts of government. This made me wonder: what sorts of reports do we put out?  Could we remedy that?  I was also reminded that plans to set up an umbrella national human rights institution have come and gone… were any still under active consideration?

So I checked: the closest thing we have to such a report is the quadrennial self-assessment of human rights that we compile (as every UN member should) as part of the UNHRC’s  “universal periodic review” process.  What I found was enlightening and surprising, though not always encouraging.  It is worth its own review; stay tuned for a future recap.



Tracking local news: a case study
Saturday May 12th 2012, 9:46 pm
Filed under: %a la mod,fly-by-wire,null

I passed a burning Bolt Bus this morning. I wanted to learn more about it, so I trolled some local news sites.
Then some hyperlocal news sites.
Then The Internetz, via various search engines.

Nothing.

Twitter? Came through after a fashion: people passing it, like me, on the NJ Turnpike. Some had cameras to match their rubber necks. (HT to LilianeHaub)

Someone also tweeted from another Bolt Bus that whose driver commented on the fire to them.
But no word from people on the bus, or involved with the event; and no actual coverage.

It’s locally newsworthy;
Are there any alternatives to find out more?
Alternatives that focus on certain subgenres?

If you really can’t find any information online, writing down your own interest and what information you’ve gathered is a poor second option. That at least gives others interested in the same topic a place to talk about it.



Celebrity Deathmatch: John Pike v. John Hancock
Sunday November 20th 2011, 10:58 pm
Filed under: %a la mod,fly-by-wire,Not so popular,null



Ilya Zhitomirskiy 1989-2011
Sunday November 13th 2011, 3:16 am
Filed under: indescribable,null,Seraphic

Together we will move in ways that none could move alone.

You will be remembered.




Bad Behavior has blocked 1184 access attempts in the last 7 days.