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Michael Stapelberg
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I just published a pure-Go userland for Raspberry Pi 3 appliances: https://gokrazy.github.io/

From the description:

For a long time, we were unhappy with having to care about security issues and Linux distribution maintenance on our various Raspberry Pis.
Then, we had a crazy idea: what if we got rid of memory-unsafe languages and all software we don’t strictly need?
Turns out this is feasible. gokrazy is the result.

See https://gokrazy.github.io/quickstart.html for details on how to use it. tl;dr: gokr-packer -overwrite=/dev/sdb github.com/gokrazy/hello

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PLEASE RESHARE WIDELY.

If you know anyone, or know anyone who knows anyone, who's an employee at one of the Federal or other agencies that is being gagged by government order, please give them this resource. It will allow them to communicate anonymously and fairly securely with a major news provider if used correctly.

"The Washington Post’s SecureDrop is a discreet way for readers to share messages and materials with our journalists. It offers greater security and anonymity than conventional e-mail and Web forms."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/securedrop/

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I felt that publically available manpage repositories were lacking in one aspect or another (incomplete, hard to navigate, only offering plain text), so I set out to improve an existing one: the Debian manpage web repository. Check out e.g. https://manpages.debian.org/jessie/cron/crontab.5.en.html for an interesting entry point, showcasing a couple of features.

For the full launch announcement, see https://people.debian.org/~stapelberg/2017/01/18/manpages-debian-org.html

Hope this is useful to some of you!

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A new serious issue has come up in the past few days. A group of computer scientists have been looking at election results, and there are some fairly worrying signals that electronic voting machines may have been compromised in key states, altering vote totals enough to swing the entire election.

The evidence comes from comparing results from neighboring counties which use electronic vote machines, versus ones which use paper ballots. What they found was that in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, Clinton received 7% fewer votes in electronic voting counties than in paper voting ones. It's possible that this is genuine, of course, but it's a pretty sharp and striking pattern – and it's the exact pattern you would expect if a foreign power were deliberately compromising swing states.

That's the sort of thing which would sound like a paranoid fantasy most years, but given that the NSA (and quite a few other agencies) have been quite explicit that Russia has been doing exactly this sort of thing, e.g. compromising DNC computers to get damaging information which they could leak to the press, it's not so crazy that it shouldn't be checked, and now, before the election results are finalized.

(More details about exactly what may have happened are given in this post by Prof. J. Alex Halderman, one of the researchers who spotted the irregularity: https://medium.com/@jhalderm/want-to-know-if-the-election-was-hacked-look-at-the-ballots-c61a6113b0ba#.rx12oef2c)

In Michigan, Wisconsin, and parts of Pennsylvania, we're in luck: the electronic ballot machines also produce paper printouts, and checking this is simply a matter of comparing the two results. (Oddly enough, checking this sort of thing isn't standard practice) In the rest of Pennsylvania, there is no paper trail, so what would be required is a thorough forensic investigation of the voting computers – something not simple to do, since malware created by state actors is generally fairly good at cleaning up after itself.

Given the tremendous significance of this election to the world, I think it's urgent and imperative that we do verify the ballots. An election is only free and fair if the public believes it to be so; we've already seen how much harm a trail of suspicion of fraud or cheating can do.

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The news about Nazis in DC may have hidden some of the most important stories brewing about the new administration. This one may prove to have some of the most serious consequences. Trump wants to eliminate NASA's Earth Science division, one of the foremost institutions in the world studying the state of our planet. This team has key responsibilities in lofting the satellites which give us a view of what's happening around us – as well as being one of the world's best groups of climate modeling.

Eliminating the division would both disband one of the best such teams in the world, and eliminate nearly $2B of funding from the subject, costing hundreds (or more) of jobs across the field, and likely most affecting the careers of young researchers – with huge consequences for the field's future, just as it is becoming ever-more critical. (Remember that the Arab Spring was triggered by droughts in Asia and the Middle East, and the current massive surge in temperatures in the Arctic – it's currently 36°F above normal! – are going to have tremendous consequences. There's a reason the DoD considers this a top strategic priority.)

More chillingly still, the justification for this is that he calls their work "politicized science" – which is to say, "science which is politically inconvenient for him." We've seen a similar game in which Congress has banned any medical or epidemiological research on guns, because of the NRA's (probably justified) fear that the results of even the most trivial research would harm their political goals.* (Pro tip: if you know that anyone seriously looking at a question will come up with answers that hurt your goals, this may mean your goals are shady.)

There's actually a name for this sort of thing: Lysenkoism, named after Soviet agriculture director Trofim Lysenko. Lysenko considered genetics to be politically unfavorable to Communism, because if traits are inherent, then they can't be improved by the government, and that would make all sorts of parts of the Five-Year Plan obviously infeasible. With Stalin's enthusiastic support, all funding for research which disagreed with this was cut. (And this being Stalin, researchers who disagreed were shipped to Siberia) It was replaced by a rather bizarre official theory in which, for example, rye could be turned into wheat, and exposing wheat seeds to high humidity and low temperature would "teach" them and their descendants to grow in the winter.

The thing about science is that it's about asking questions and noting what's happening in the world around you. You don't get to make theories up and just say that the world is so; all you can do is describe what's actually observed, and try to figure out if you can predict what will happen next. That is, science is descriptive, it's not normative.

And that means that science is about things that keep happening, whether you believe in them or not. Unlike saying "I don't believe in fairies!," you can say "this wheat will grow in Siberia!" as often as you like, and the wheat still isn't going to grow there. That's the problem with Lysenkoism: it's based on pretending that nature works some way, and threatening anyone who dares to disagree with you, but nature doesn't really care. It will keep doing what it was doing before, and all that happens is that you've decided to be officially blind to it.

You do this with how crops work, and you end up with unexpected famines. You do this with how climate works, and you end up with unexpected droughts, floods, spreads of new diseases, and all sorts of fun and exciting things, because it turns out that the weather is still pretty important in our lives and you do not fuck with the laws of physics.

I say this with confidence: I was a physicist myself, am currently an engineer, and so if anyone is qualified to make a snappy answer to "Ye cannae the laws of physics, Jim!" it's probably me. But sorry: if your politics would be harmed by people being aware of reality, then all that means is that (a) your politics are apparently based on lying to people, and (b) at some point or another you are going to get a rude introduction to reality, which will not be good for either your politics or your constituents-slash-victims.

* Before anyone uses this as an excuse to go on a rant: I'm not anti-gun at all, and rather enjoy shooting. But there's a huge space between the Second Amendment and the sort of lunacy that the NRA has gotten infatuated with, where any restriction on a person's right to own a GBU-31 JDAM is tantamount to treason. And things like legally barring doctors from asking people if they have a gun in the house – even though, for example, that's a serious risk factor of death if anyone in the house is suffering from serious depression or similar illnesses – is just sacrificing human lives on the altar of their own political expediency. Seriously, fuck those guys.

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Building protocol libraries the right way... don't couple I/O and protocol parsing! Big +1 and great talk by Cory Benfield.


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If you’ve ever wondered how our Compute Engine load balancing can serve a million requests a second without pre-warming, the answer is Maglev—our software network load balancer. Dig into the design details in our latest paper: https://goo.gl/qPEq6A
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I get mails from Louis C.K. in my mail every now and then. This week he had a very readable post scriptum that deserves to be shared broadly on the internets. but i only have G+ so that will have to do.

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[...]

P.S. Please stop it with voting for Trump. It was funny for a little while. But the guy is Hitler. And by that I mean that we are being Germany in the 30s. Do you think they saw the shit coming? Hitler was just some hilarious and refreshing dude with a weird comb over who would say anything at all.
And I'm not advocating for Hillary or Bernie. I like them both but frankly I wish the next president was a conservative only because we had Obama for eight years and we need balance. And not because I particularly enjoy the conservative agenda. I just think the government should reflect the people. And we are about 40 percent conservative and 40 percent liberal. When I was growing up and when I was a younger man, liberals and conservatives were friends with differences. They weren’t enemies. And it always made sense that everyone gets a president they like for a while and then hates the president for a while. But it only works if the conservatives put up a good candidate. A good smart conservative to face the liberal candidate so they can have a good argument and the country can decide which way to go this time.
Trump is not that. He's an insane bigot. He is dangerous.
He already said he would expand libel laws to sue anyone who "writes a negative hit piece" about him. He says "I would open up the libel laws so we can sue them and win lots of money. Not like now. These guys are totally protected." He said that. He has promised to decimate the first amendment. (If you think he’s going to keep the second amendment intact you’re delusional.) And he said that Paul Ryan, speaker of the house will "pay" for criticizing him. So I'm saying this now because if he gets in there we won't be able to criticize him anymore.
Please pick someone else. Like John Kasich. I mean that guy seems okay. I don't like any of them myself but if you're that kind of voter please go for a guy like that. It feels like between him and either democrat we'd have a decent choice. It feels like a healthier choice. We shouldn't have to vote for someone because they're not a shocking cunt billionaire liar.
We should choose based on what direction the country should go.
I get that all these people sound like bullshit soft criminal opportunists. The whole game feels rigged and it's not going anywhere but down anymore. I feel that way sometimes.
And that voting for Trump is a way of saying "fuck it. Fuck them all". I really get it. It's a version of national Suicide. Or it's like a big hit off of a crack pipe. Somehow we can't help it. Or we know that if we vote for Trump our phones will be a reliable source of dopamine for the next four years. I mean I can't wait to read about Trump every day. It's a rush. But you have to know this is not healthy.
If you are a true conservative. Don't vote for Trump. He is not one of you. He is one of him. Everything you have heard him say that you liked, if you look hard enough you will see that he one day said the exact opposite. He is playing you.
In fact, if you do vote for Trump, at least look at him very carefully first. You owe that to the rest of us. Know and understand who he is. Spend one hour on google and just read it all. I don’t mean listen to me or listen to liberals who put him down. Listen to your own people. Listen to John Mccain. Go look at what he just said about Trump. "At a time when our world has never been more complex or more in danger... I want Republican voters to pay close attention to what our party's most respected and knowledgeable leaders and national security experts are saying about Mr. Trump, and to think long and hard about who they want to be our next Commander-in-Chief and leader of the free world.”
When Trump was told what he said, Trump said "Oh, he did? Well, that's not nice," he told CBS News' chief White House correspondent Major Garrett. "He has to be very careful."
When pressed on why, Trump tacked on: "He'll find out.”
(I cut and pasted that from CBS news)
Do you really want a guy to be president who threatens John McCain? Because John McCain cautiously and intelligently asked for people to be thoughtful before voting for him? He didn’t even insult Trump. He just asked you to take a good look. And Trump told him to look out.
Remember that Trump entered this race by saying that McCain is not a war hero. A guy who was shot down, body broken and kept in a POW camp for years. Trump said “I prefer the guys who don’t get caught.” Why did he say that? Not because he meant it or because it was important to say. He said it because he’s a bully and every bully knows that when you enter a new school yard, you go to the toughest most respected guy on the yard and you punch him in the nose. If you are still standing after, you’re the new boss. If Trump is president, he’s not going to change. He’s not going to do anything for you. He’s going to do everything for himself and leave you in the dust.
So please listen to fellow conservatives. But more importantly, listen to Trump. Listen to all of it. Everything he says. If you liked when he said that “torture works” then go look at where he took it back the next day. He’s a fucking liar.
A vote for Trump is so clearly a gut-vote, and again I get it. But add a little brain to it and look the guy up. Because if you vote for him because of how you feel right now, the minute he's president, you're going to regret it. You're going to regret it even more when he gives the job to his son. Because American democracy is broken enough that a guy like that could really fuck things up. That's how Hitler got there. He was voted into power by a fatigued nation and when he got inside, he did all his Hitler things and no one could stop him.
Again, I’m not saying vote democrat or vote for anyone else. If Hilary ends up president it should be because she faced the best person you have and you and I both chose her or him or whoever. Trump is not your best. He’s the worst of all of us. He’s a symptom to a problem that is very real. But don’t vote for your own cancer. You’re better than that.
That's just my view. At least right now. I know I’m not qualified or particularly educated and I'm not right instead of you. I’m an idiot and I'm sure a bunch of you are very annoyed by this. Fucking celebrity with an opinion. I swear this isn’t really a political opinion. You don’t want to know my political opinions. (And I know that I’m only bringing myself trouble with this shit.) Trump has nothing to do with politics or ideology. He has to do with himself. And really I don't mean to insult anyone. Except Trump. I mean to insult him very much. And really I’m not saying he’s evil or a monster. In fact I don’t think Hitler was. The problem with saying that guys like that are monsters is that we don’t see them coming when they turn out to be human, which they all are. Everyone is. Trump is a messed up guy with a hole in his heart that he tries to fill with money and attention. He can never ever have enough of either and he’ll never stop trying. He’s sick. Which makes him really really interesting. And he pulls you towards him which somehow feels good or fascinatingly bad. He’s not a monster. He’s a sad man. But all this makes him horribly dangerous if he becomes president. Give him another TV show. Let him pay to put his name on buildings. But please stop voting for him. And please watch Horace and Pete.

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Extrablatt

Hast du auch das Extrablatt der SVP/UDC in der Post gehabt, obwohl du einen Aufkleber gegen Werbung und Gratiszeitungen am Briefkasten kleben hast? Hast du dich geärgert, dass du jetzt den Müll der SVP auf deine Kosten entsorgen musst, weil diese Leute sich nicht darum kümmern, was für explizite Anweisungen auf deinem Briefkasten kleben?

Mit diesem Sticker (https://db.tt/ZwbwmjJl) kannst du der SVP ihren Müll zurück senden, so dass sie ihn selbst entsorgen müssen (und du nicht dafür aufkommen musst). Klebe ihn einfach auf die obere rechte Ecke der Zeitung und wirf sie in den nächsten Postbriefkasten. Damit sich die Zeitung nicht unterwegs öffnet und die Sortiermaschinen der +Swiss Post blockiert, solltest du zudem die obere Kante zukleben – ein «Refugees Welcome»-Sticker tut hier gute Dienste.

(Falls du dich fragst, warum die Inhalte jener Zeitung als anstössig gewertet werden können: http://www.entrechtung.ch/ hat dazu ein paar Informationen.)
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