- The most common problem in science journalism, in a nutshell:The article: "This is ... the strongest magnetic field conclusively detected in the universe."The headline? "Astrophysicists detect the strongest magnetic field in the universe"
- Hey everyone, there's a "Director of Engineering" opening at Permanent.org. If you have leadership ability, technical ability, and open source experience, this could be a great opportunity. My company has been working with Permanent.org a lot recently and have really enjoyed the experience: good people, good organizational culture, good mission.Details at https://www.permanent.org/jobs/ .
- Obviously, this is a warning. The phosphine detected in the atmosphere of Venus is all that remains of the once-mighty civilization whose pollution caused the runaway greenhouse effect that led to the hellish surface conditions on the planet today. No other traces remain.
- More evidence that deleting Uber long ago was a good call:Their marketing email unsubscription is not "one click". You click and that takes you to a page *where you have to manually re-enter the email address* (which, of course, they already know because it was a unique link).
AJ Jordan likes this.
- I can't believe that I just now noticed that the word "Incandescent" can be divided into "Incan descent" (for someone whose ancestors were members of the ruling class of the empire that once dominated the West Coast of South America)./me looks suspiciously at every other word
- Today I replaced the knob on the top of my shifter with a featureless wooden ball.Everything is going to be much better now.
- All week I've been seeing huge spiders & webs. Then today a recall for my 2010 Suzuki Kizashi: "The reason for the safety and emissions recall was that a spider could enter the evaporative emissions canister air vent line and weave a web, causing a restriction in the vent line."
- What's next? Someone will implement a text editor in Emacs?
- This tale in today's @NYTimes is genuinely shocking. Grading in schools is problematic to begin with, but all defensible uses involve evaluating new information not remixing old information. IB and Ofqual were fundamentally confused about their task.It's an excellent Op-Ed, but one quibble: the problem wasn't the use of "algorithms". All grading involves algorithms, even when it doesn't involve computers. The problem was the *inputs* to the algorithm. What was being "graded" was others' expectations about the student.
- Notably, the title of this paper, "Grounded Language Learning Fast and Slow", doesn't even bother to say that the learner in question is a computer not a human. I guess we know who the default subject is now :-).https://arxiv.org/abs/2009.01719("Grounded" can go either way.)
- Unfortunate juxtaposition on @WBEZ @NPR just now (paraphrasing):"...blah blah Trump said USPS can't do mail-in ballots if he deprives them of funding blah blah...""...And now the big question we've all been wondering about: will there be college football this year?"Ouch.
- Wait -- does this mean the person sitting across from you on the subway can now read all your email backwards?
- Thesis:When you're a minority party only able to win at the national level due to structural imbalances in how the electorate is divided up geographically, then voting rights and ballot access become a partisan issue for you.Preventing voting is now part of the GOP platform.
- Trump's strategy is clearer by the day:Convince as many Trump voters as possible that COVID-19 is not as dangerous as the libs say and that in-person voting is safe, while impeding (via court challenges and USPS slowdown) the mail-in ballots that non-Trump voters prefer.
- Heard on @WBEZ / @NPR this morning, re U.S. crossing 5 million cases:"To put that in perspective, Brazil has 3 million and India has 2 million."Aaaaaargh. No, sigh, that puts nothing in perspective. Dear journalists: *only per-capita statistics matter*.
AJ Jordan likes this.
- Repeating because every now and then it's needed:
The number of open bug tickets in a project's bug tracker correlates to the number of *users* not the number of *defects*. This is regarding this post:
(My original rant: https://rants.org/2010/01/bugs-users-and-tech-debt/)
- Question:Facebook's stock structure famously gives Zuckerberg decisive power (i.e., voting > ownership), so Board can't fire him. Meanwhile, a judge excoriated Facebook for its behavior, in approving a huge FTC fine.Couldn't FTC demand structure change instead of a fine?
- The Trump administration is reportedly considering (somehow) banning TikTok.Serious question: is this a Free Software issue?The app itself isn't FOSS, but the government telling people what bits -- proprietary or otherwise -- they can run on their own devices seems bad...The US and Australian militaries banned it on their networks and devices over security concerns. The National Defense Authorization Act 2021 provision being moved states in operative part: “In General.--Except as provided in subsection (b), no employee of the United States, officer of the United States, Member of Congress, congressional employee, or officer or employee of a government corporation may download or use TikTok or any successor application developed by ByteDance or any entity owned by ByteDance on any device issued by the United States or a government corporation.” The exception allows for research, law enforcement, and intelligence activity usage notwithstanding.
This means no civil servants or troopers will be able to use the SaaS on their official devices and official networks. Off-duty they can do what they want. Private individuals are not covered by this. There is no software freedom issue as an employer is regulating its employees.I'll play devil's advocate a bit to figure out what you're getting at:if the government were to forbid everyone from running any non-free software whatsoever, would that be a bad thing, a software freedom issue?would the rationale that the goal is to stop people from being victims of malware not be a good one?one could argue, as we often have in public tenders that demanded software freedom, that no software has the restrictions that render it non-free built into it; any piece of software could be made available in a freedom-respecting, thus no software is really excluded, it's only the abuse that comes with it when it's non-free that would be excluded
- Another reason to love @LWNnet: This excellent article about recent developments in @LibreOffice. TL;DR: the project is trying an interesting tactic for getting development paid for while remaining true (with delay?) to #freesoftware principles. Fascinating & worth watching.
- Whoo-whee! This is a trip down memory lane (re CVS and Subversion) and is also some really fine technical storytelling from @jimblandy, interviewed by @AdamGordonBell on the excellent @CoRecursive Podcast: