DNA Lounge update, wherein it's almost Robot Time!
Posted Sat Jun 23 02:14:05 2018 Tags:

Daily coverage of the bullshitter's latest tweets is a distraction from the right-wing activities of the Democratic Party establishment.

Posted Sat Jun 23 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

Record 68.5 Million People Fleeing War Or Persecution Worldwide.

Posted Sat Jun 23 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

By 2100, over 2 million homes in the US may become unusable due to regular flooding caused by global heating.

The article focuses on the consequent decrease in property tax revenue, which is worrying about the tail instead of the dog.

Posted Sat Jun 23 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

The Onion: Onion Social announces the very first-of-its-kind genital recognition software.

Posted Sat Jun 23 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

Under the hopelessness and stress of poverty in the US today, you almost need to be a superman to make a long-term plan to better your own life. Everything is stacked against you, and you know it.

Posted Sat Jun 23 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

MRI studies show that users quickly learn to stop seeing security warnings. They ignore the warnings at an unconscious level, so they do not become consciously aware of the warnings.

Posted Sat Jun 23 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

Polish judges describe the government's attacks on their independence.

Posted Sat Jun 23 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

Plutocrats say the US economy is in "great shape". That's true — for plutocrats only.

The US now has "jobs for everyone", but the pay is so bad you need to work two full-time jobs to support yourself.

Posted Sat Jun 23 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

US citizens: call on Representatives to use a discharge petition and vote for network neutrality.

Posted Sat Jun 23 00:00:00 2018 Tags:

US citizens: call on Nielsen, head of the Department of Harshness and Sadism, to resign.

Posted Sat Jun 23 00:00:00 2018 Tags:
"Safety driver" of fatal self-driving Uber crash was watching Hulu at time of accident:

Police obtained records from Hulu, an online service for streaming TV shows and movies, which showed Vasquez's account was playing the TV talent show "The Voice" for about 42 minutes on the night of the crash, ending at 9:59 p.m., which "coincides with the approximate time of the collision," the report said. [...]

The Uber car was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash, but the company, like other self-driving car developers, requires a back-up driver inside to intervene when the autonomous system fails or a tricky driving situation occurs.

WHICH WILL NEVER WORK!

Vasquez looked up just 0.5 seconds before the crash, after keeping her head down for 5.3 seconds, the Tempe police report said. Uber's self-driving Volvo SUV was traveling at just under 44 miles per hour. [...] Police said a review of video from inside the Volvo showed Vasquez was looking down during the trip, and her face "appears to react and show a smirk or laugh at various points during the times that she is looking down." The report found that Vasquez "was distracted and looking down" for close to seven of the nearly 22 minutes prior to the collision. [...]

According to a report last month by the National Transportation Safety Board, which is also investigating the crash, Vasquez told federal investigators she had been monitoring the self-driving interface in the car and that neither her personal nor business phones were in use until after the crash. That report showed Uber had disabled the emergency braking system in the Volvo, and Vasquez began braking less than a second after hitting Herzberg. [...]

In addition to the report, police released a slew of audio files of 911 calls made by Vasquez, who waited at the scene for police, and bystanders; photographs of Herzberg's damaged bicycle and the Uber car; and videos from police officers' body cameras that capture the minutes after the crash, including harrowing screams in the background.

I repeat myself, but:

  1. The Uber executives who put this software on the public roadways need to be in jail. They disabled safety features because they made testing harder. They disabled safety features because they made the ride rougher.

  2. This notion that having a "safety driver" in the passenger seat will allow a distracted human to take over at the last minute is completely insane. You think driving-while-texting is dangerous? This is so much worse. When people aren't engaged in the task of driving, their minds wander. They cannot re-engage fast enough. This is obvious on its face, we don't need studies to prove it. Oh, but we have them anyway.

  3. I would still like to know the answer to the question of who gets charged with vehicular homicide when one of these machines kills someone. Even if they are ultimately ruled to be not at fault, what name goes on the court docket? Is it:

    • The Uber employee "non-employee independent contractor" in the passenger seat?
    • Their shift lead?
    • Travis Kalanick?
    • The author(s) of the (proprietary, un-auditable) software?
    • The "corporate person" known as Uber?

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Fri Jun 22 20:05:51 2018 Tags:
"Sad Trombone"

When it comes to disclosing their affiliation with Trump, no ground is more fraught than courtship. "Trump supporters swipe left" -- meaning "don't even bother trying" -- might be the single most common disclaimer on dating app profiles in Washington.

One beleaguered 31-year-old female administration official described at length her "very, very frequent" scraps with her matches on dating apps. "You do the small talk thing, and you have a very good conversation, and then they might say, 'You didn't vote for Trump, right?'" she says. "As soon as I say, 'Of course I did,' it just devolves into all-caps 'HOW COULD YOU BE SUCH A RACIST AND A BIGOT?' And 'You're going to take away your own birth control.'" In one recent star-crossed exchange, the official told a match she worked for the federal government. When he pushed, she revealed she was in the administration. He asked her, "Do you rip babies from their mothers and then send them to Mexico?"

Evasive answers will get you only so far, though, since many dating apps provide enough information for inquisitive users to sleuth out their matches' identities. "I literally got the other day, 'Thanks but no thanks. Just Googled you and it said you were a mouthpiece for the Trump administration. Go fuck yourself,'" says the official. It's all enough to drive her and some of her colleagues away from at least some of the apps. "I'm no longer on Bumble," she says.

Young staffers have had to develop a keen sense of just when to have "The Talk" with romantic partners. "I've still been able to hook up with women," says a male former White House staffer. "But I know that I need to be careful about broaching the Trump stuff. I just know that going in, I need to be able to get it out at the right time and not get it out too early."

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Fri Jun 22 19:29:10 2018 Tags:
COMPLAINT TO SHOW CAUSE WHY THE TRUMP INTERNATIONAL HOTEL ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE LICENSE SHOULD BE REVOKED.

This is beautiful:

The Trump International Hotel in Washington shouldn't be allowed to serve alcohol because the hotel's ultimate owner, President Donald Trump, isn't of "good character," a group of religious leaders and former judges said in a complaint.

The group asked Washington's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to investigate Trump and ultimately revoke his namesake hotel's license to serve liquor. [...]

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board would have had to determine that Trump was of good character when it issued a liquor license to the hotel, a review of the board's rules suggests. Max Bluestein, a spokesman for the beverage board, said the board's enforcement division was reviewing the complaint.

Trump's offenses, according to the complaint, include associating with people convicted of major crimes; accusations of sexual assault; lying; and a general lack of integrity. The complainants say that the allegations and evidence demonstrates that Trump fails to meet the beverage board's requirement that only people of "good character" qualify for the right to sell alcohol in Washington.

Funny story: Under DC law, anyone convicted of a felony is also banned from owning a liquor license.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Fri Jun 22 02:20:57 2018 Tags:

My friend, colleague, and boss, Karen Sandler, yesterday tweeted about one of the unfortunately sexist incidents that she's faced in her life. This incident is a culmination of sexist incidents that Karen and I have seen since we started working together. I describe below how these events entice me to be complicit in sexist incidents, which I do my best to actively resist.

Ultimately, this isn't about me, Karen, or about a single situation, but this is a great example of how sexist behaviors manipulate a situation and put successful women leaders in no-win situations. If you read this tweet (and additionally already knew about Software Freedom Conservancy where I work)…

“#EveryDaySexism I'm Exec Director of a charity.  A senior tech exec is making his company's annual donation conditional on his speaking privately to a man who reports to me. I hope shining light on these situations erodes their power to build no-win situations for women leaders.” — Karen Sandler

… you've already guessed that I'm the male employee that this executive meant. When I examine the situation, I can't think of a single reason this donor could want to speak to me that would not be more productive if he instead spoke with Karen. Yet, the executive, who was previously well briefed on the role changes at Conservancy, repeatedly insisted that the donation was gated on a conversation with me.

Those who follow my and Karen's work know that I was Conservancy's first Executive Director. Now, I have a lower-ranking role since Karen came to Conservancy.

Back in 2014, Karen and I collaboratively talked about what role would make sense for her and me — and we made a choice together. We briefly considered a co-Executive Director situation, but that arrangement has been tried elsewhere and is typically not successful in the long term. Karen is much better than me at the key jobs of a successful Executive Director. Karen and I agreed she was better for the job than me. We took it to Conservancy's Board of Directors, and they moved my leadership role at Conservancy to be honorary, and we named Karen the sole Executive Director. Yes, I'm still nebulously a leader in the Free Software community (which I'm of course glad about). But for Conservancy matters, and specifically donor relations and major decisions about the organization, Karen is in charge.

Karen is an impressive leader and there is no one else that I'd want to follow in my software freedom activism work. She's the best Executive Director that Conservancy could possibly have — by far. Everyone in the community who works with us regularly knows this. Yet ever since Karen was named our Executive Director, she faces everyday sexist behavior, including people who seek to conscript me into participation in institutional sexism. As outlined above, I was initially Executive Director of Conservancy, and I was treated very differently than she is treated in similar situations, even though the organization has grown significantly under her leadership. More on that below, but first a few of the other everyday examples of sexism I've witnessed with Karen:

Many times when we're at conferences together, men who meet us assume that Karen works for me until we explain our roles. This happens almost every time both Karen and I are at the same conference, which is at least a few times each year.

Another time: a journalist wrote an article about some of “Bradley's work” at Conservancy. We pointed out to the journalist how strange it was that Karen was not mentioned in the article, and that it made it sound like I was the only person doing this work at our organization. He initially responded that because I was the “primary spokesperson”, it was natural to credit me and not her. Karen in fact had been more recently giving multiple keynotes on the topic, and had more speaking engagements than I did in that year. One of those keynotes was just weeks before the article, and it had been months since I'd given a talk or made any public statements. Fortunately, the journalist was willing to engage and discuss the importance of the issue (which was excellent) and the journalist even did agree it was a mistake, but neverthless couldn't rewrite the article.

Another time: we were leaked (reliable) information about a closed-door meeting where some industry leaders were discussing Conservancy and its work. The person who leaked us the information told us that multiple participants kept talking only about me, not Karen's work. When someone in the meeting said wait, isn't Karen Sandler the Executive Director?, our source (who was giving us a real-time report over IRC) reported that that the (male) meeting coordinator literally said: Oh sure, Karen works there, but Bradley is their guiding light. Karen had been Executive Director for years at that point.

I consistently say in talks, and in public conversations, that Karen is my boss. I literally use the word “boss”, so there is no confusion nor ambiguity. I did it this week at a talk. But instead of taking that as the fact that it is, many people make comments like well, Karen's not really your boss, right; that's just a thing you say?. So, I'm saying unequivocally here (surely not for the last time): I report to Karen at Conservancy. She is in charge of Conservancy. She has the authority to fire me. (I hope she won't, of course :). She takes views and opinions of our entire staff seriously but she sets the agenda and makes the decisions about what work we do and how we do it. (It shows how bad sexism is in our culture that Karen and I often have to explain in intricate detail what it means for someone to be an Executive Director of an organization.)

Interestingly but disturbingly, the actors here are not typically people who are actually sexist. They are rarely doing these actions consciously. Rather these incidents teach how institutional sexism operates in practice. Every time I'm approached (which is often) with some subtle situation where it makes Karen look like she's not really in charge, I'm given the opportunity to pump myself up, make myself look more important, and gain more credibility and power. It is clear to me that this comes at the expense of subtly denigrating Karen and that the enticement is part of an institutionally sexist zero-sum game.

These situations are no-win. I know that in the recent situation, the donation would be assured if I'd just agreed to a call right away without Karen's involvement. I didn't do it, because that approach would make me inherently complicit in institutional sexism. But, avoiding becoming “part of the problem” requires constant vigilance.

These situations are sadly very common, particularly for women who are banging cracks into the glass ceiling. For my part, I'm glad to help where I can tell my side the story, because I think it's essential for men to assist and corroborate the fight against sexism in our industry without mansplaining or white-knighting. I hope other men in technology will join me and refuse to participate and support behavior that seeks to erode women's well-earned power in our community. When you are told that a woman is in charge of a free software project, that a woman is the executive director of the organization, or that a woman is the chair of the board, take the fact at face value, treat that person as the one who is in charge of that endeavor, and don't (inadvertantly nor explicitly) undermine her authority.

Posted Thu Jun 21 18:40:00 2018 Tags:

Planet Debian upstream is hosted by Branchable.