Profile cover photo
Profile photo
David Dickens
Some questions are more valuable than answers.
Some questions are more valuable than answers.

David's posts

Post has attachment

Post has attachment
Putin has all the pictures of your kitteh now.
"In or around November and December 2014, Belan stole a copy of at least a portion of Yahoo's User Database (UDB), a Yahoo trade secret that contained, among other data, subscriber information including users' names, recovery email accounts, phone numbers and certain information required to manually create, or 'mint,' account authentication web browser 'cookies' for more than 500 million Yahoo accounts.

"Belan also obtained unauthorized access on behalf of the FSB conspirators to Yahoo's Account Management Tool (AMT), which was a proprietary means by which Yahoo made and logged changes to user accounts. Belan, Dokuchaev and Sushchin then used the stolen UDB copy and AMT access to locate Yahoo email accounts of interest and to mint cookies for those accounts, enabling the co-conspirators to access at least 6,500 such accounts without authorization."

Wait, you still have your Yahoo! email account?

Post has attachment
An Armchair Adventure.
Since once we stood in awe of such things, we could again:

And we too turned away, our last look bent,
On those old Tombs, while, like a bright dream spent,
The wild, free life upon the Desert plain,
The beauteous and sublime infinitude,
The gorgeous colored ocean, rainbow hued,
Those rosy Temples with their golden stain,
All lovely things we shall not see again.

Let us hope we might yet see them again.

Post has attachment
Security professional gives access to his account from an app, app is used to hijack account.
Everyone likes what third party apps can do to increase the value of services like Twitter (or Google). But because of how these apps access your account, they often bypass, or at least mitigate, the stronger security settings available from the account provider.

You might want to check to see who you've given access to. In Google you can usually find that information here:

Post has attachment
You're going to want to read this one carefully.
Unlike so many articles online, there's a fair amount of nuance to this one. The devil is definitely in the details here. But the overall message of the click-bait title is true and worth thinking about rather deeply.

The surprising discovery of this study was that although the music abilities were influenced by genes — to the tune of about 38%, on average — there was no evidence they were influenced by practice. For a pair of identical twins, the twin who practiced music more did not do better on the tests than the twin who practiced less.

This finding does not imply that there is no point in practicing if you want to become a musician. [..] But it does imply that there are limits on the transformative power of practice.

My wife and I were talking about our children last night, how they each do well in some things and poorly in others. The calculus is complex. There might be broad rules, but much of life (including our genetics) isn't something you can influence directly and some of what you can influence might have counterproductive side effects or at the very least steep opportunity costs.

My son has his father's terrible handwriting; his sister, much younger and less practiced, has good handwriting (when she wants to). I could drill him several hours a day until everything he wrote looked like calligraphy, but from where I sit that's a costly mistake.

The 10,000 hour rule is nice because it reminds a learner that they may need to invest considerable resources in a skill or discipline before they master it. It helps people in the psychological battle to delay gratification. But if we use it to set up other realistic expectations (anyone can be a concert pianist if they just spend 10,000 hours practicing or someone is a concert pianist so they must have spent 10,000 hours practicing) then we can do some real harm.

Moreover, it's time we break some other taboos about our a meritocratic society:

The second reason we should not pretend we are endowed with the same abilities is that doing so perpetuates the myth that is at the root of much inaction in society — the myth that people can help themselves to the same degree if they just try hard enough.

You're not a heart surgeon? That's your fault for not working hard enough in school! You didn't make it as a concert pianist? You must not have wanted it that badly.

Societal inequality is thus justified on the grounds that anyone who is willing to put in the requisite time and effort can succeed and should be rewarded with a good life, whereas those who struggle to make ends meet are to blame for their situations and should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.

I'm not going to go so far as the article and claim everyone is entitled to the benefits of some misdirected public policy (this isn't a political post), but we should be more careful in our assumptions about why someone is in the particular position they are in economically and the stigmas we have concerning the value or virtue of a person who isn't as successful as we are.

Post has attachment
Am I the only one around here who thinks this is a good thing?
"These platforms are central to our democracy," John Borthwick, a New York tech investor, told the Financial Times. "Something has started to go wildly wrong."

No, John Borthwick, New York tech investor, I think, perhaps, something just might be going right--I'm speaking of the low trust numbers across the board, not just the clickbait title.

Post has shared content
A computer as a brain has always been a metaphor gone wrong.
Our obsession with Cartesian dualism has produced some distracting fruit that made it possible for us to ignore the underlying errors.

A wave in the ocean doesn't exist apart from the water that makes it up. Which is not to say that a wave cannot be made of many things (a sound wave can be converted to electric energy by a microphone and reproduced into the air again at some other location by a speaker) but in any case a wave is a wave of something.

Trying to make a mind from logic puzzles and statistical modeling abstracted this process to absurdity. This is probably interesting to +Richard Lucas among others.
" Nature ‘has built the apparatus of rationality not just on top of the apparatus of biological regulation, but also from it and with it’, wrote the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio in Descartes’ Error (1994), his seminal book on cognition. In other words, we think with our whole body, not just with the brain.

I suspect that this basic imperative of bodily survival in an uncertain world is the basis of the flexibility and power of human intelligence. But few AI researchers have really embraced the implications of these insights."

Post has attachment
More is being expected; be ready to deliver.
If you got into infrastructure thinking you could hide from people or avoid spending your career playing catch up on the latest tools, that isn't the way it is turning out. The best jobs are going to people who can do a bit of everything and be their own rockstar when they need one.

Post has attachment
So you thought you were clever?
You're a nerd (or you know a nerd) and had a bright idea. You were going to use your skillz to add a bit of extra anonymity to your wireless devices. But yeah apparently it doesn't work so well.

Post has shared content
The pain is real.
There's only two reliable ways to get ahold of anyone: email and an actual phone call (and I don't even have both bits of information for everyone I know except at work). If it seems like this mess is so bad someone did it on purpose, that's because people did do it on purpose. Almost all these messaging systems have open protocols they could use, but refuse to. They are deliberately incompatible.
Notice how Allo isn't even listed on this? The "chat" tab on Google Docs even gets more love from XKCD as a chat system
Wait while more posts are being loaded