*Alarm as German climate activists charged with "forming a criminal organisation".*

This seems to refer to a German equivalent of the US "RICO" law,

Ever since I first read about the RICO law, I have worried that it could be used against democratic protest activities. The criteria for applying the RICO law are vague and general. They were written to facilitate using it against secret criminal gangs, but make it hard to guarantee that annoying protests are not targeted as well.

Posted Wed May 29 11:05:51 2024 Tags:

*Electoral laws flouted, opposition MPs arrested — this is what it's like to stand against Modi's BJP.*

Posted Wed May 29 11:05:51 2024 Tags:

The fascist leader was repeatedly booed at the "Libertarian" convention when he asked that party to nominate him for president.

He was surprised by this powerful rejection, but it does not surprise me.

Their primary goal is to reduce taxes (which mostly benefits the rich), so I call them "antisocialists". They are libertarians also, but that goal is secondary for them. They advocate for laissez-faire, laissez-mourir capitalism, not dictatorship. Of course they scorned the wrecker.

We true libertarians support that same human rights goal, by supporting progressive candidates — who likewise defend human rights but also seek to tax the rich to fund crucial missions of the state.

As for the antisocialists, if they want to have any sort of human rights in the US as of 2025, they should vote tactically for Biden and other non-Republicans. Those alone can defeat the attempt to impose dictatorship.

Posted Wed May 29 11:05:51 2024 Tags:

NYU demands student protesters write confessions for the crime of breaking rules with a protest.

This reminds the author of the imposed self-criticism sessions in China. It reminds me of the "apologies" that are demanded of people who are canceled.

I think it should be possible, by careful use of irony, to cast doubt on university's proclaimed ethical conclusions while nominally "confessing".

As for using episodes of The Simpsons to pose ethical questions, I think they are as good as any other story for the purpose of starting a conversation about ethics. What makes the Simpsons so much fun is that it includes irony and doubts its presuppositions. But watching The Simpsons may raise real moral issues.

Can anyone tell me whether the contracts students must agree to in order to access the materials for this exercise includes a promise not to redistribute copies of the materials? For instance, episodes of The Simpsons?

Does carrying out the exercise require running nonfree software — perhaps an app, or nonfree JavaScript code from that site?

If so, I think the kind of ethics being taught here is, "Obey the powerful and the laws they have imposed."

The article uses the term "hacking" to refer to cracking — please keep this distinction in mind when you write about either of them.

Posted Wed May 29 11:05:51 2024 Tags:

Russia says that the corrupter is lying about having influence with Russia.

Since he and Putin both lie so much that we can't trust anything they say, the only thing we can be sure of is that having the corrupter as president is far too high a price to pay for the possible release of some of Putin's prisoners.

Posted Wed May 29 11:05:51 2024 Tags:

Starmer has copied Obama's slogan, "Change". This invites voters to think of the changes they would like to see, and fantasize that Labour would make those changes. However, Starmer makes it quite clear that the real change is that Labour now prioritizes wealthier voters. I was unimpressed when Obama used vague "hope" and "change" as slogans, and I am unimpressed now.

Posted Wed May 29 11:05:51 2024 Tags:

US citizens: call on US intelligence agencies: no national security briefings for the corrupter.

Whatever information he gets, he is likely to send to his friend, Putin.

Posted Wed May 29 11:05:51 2024 Tags:

US citizens: call on Congress to pass the BAIL and TERM acts to regulate membership of the Supreme Court,

If you phone, please spread the word! White House: +1-202-456-1111 and (TTY/TDD) +1-202-456-6213

Posted Wed May 29 11:05:51 2024 Tags:

US citizens: call on Biden to take the steps necessary to replace Postmaster DeJoy.

If you phone, please spread the word! Main Switchboard: +1-202-224-3121

Posted Wed May 29 11:05:51 2024 Tags:

US citizens: call on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to endorse a global minimum tax on billionaire wealth ahead of the G20 summit.

Posted Wed May 29 11:05:51 2024 Tags:
Congress Just Made It Basically Impossible to Track Taylor Swift's Private Jet:

Celebrities and billionaires have long complained that it's just way too easy for random people on the internet to monitor how much fuel exhaust they waste as they flit through the skies via their private jets. Well, it appears that our government's legislators have heard these complaints and, unlike when the rest of us whine about stuff, actually done something.

An amendment in the Federal Aviation Administration re-authorization bill that was passed last week will allow private aircraft owners to anonymize their registration information. President Joe Biden signed the FAA bill into law on May 16th, after it passed in the Senate 88-4 and the House 387 to 26.

Jet tracking has been made possible up until this point because private plane owners were forced to register aircraft ownership information with the FAA civil registry. That registry has been public until now, allowing for those data points to be combined with open radar mapping to understand where and when certain planes were traveling. It's through this public information that online enthusiasts have been able to track the jet activity of America's 1 percent.

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

Posted Sun May 26 01:42:09 2024 Tags:

As I’ve mentioned previously if you want eventually consistent version control, meaning whatever order you merge things together has no impact on the final result, you not only need to have a very history aware merging algorithm, you also need canonical ordering of the lines. This cleanly dodges around the biggest issue in version control, which is what should you do when one person merges AXB and AYB as AXYB and another person merges them together as AYXB and then you try to merge both of those together. None of the available options are good, so you have to keep it from ever happening in the first place. Both people need to be shown AXYB as the order of lines in the merge conflict (or the other order as long as it’s consistent) and that way if either of them decided to change it to AYXB then that was a proactive change made afterwards and is not only a winner of the later meta-merge conflict, there isn’t even a conflict at all, it merges cleanly.

This flies in the face of how UX normally works on merge conflicts, which orders the conflicting regions by whether they’re ‘local’ or ‘remote’. How to do order better is an involved subject which I’ve covered thoroughly in older posts and won’t rehash here, but conflict UX I want to talk about more. Since the order of lines and whether they should be included if everything is smashed together blindly is assumed to be handled, that creates a question of how to detect and present conflicts. What’s going to be needed is a way of marking particular lines as conflicts and figuring out what should be marked. There should be some format of special lines similar to the conflict markers people are already familiar with as a way of presenting them to users in files. That format should include a way of saying which of the two sides individual lines came from.

The general idea is to determine ‘which side each line came from’ and if two lines whose ancestry are different are ‘too close together’ then they’re both marked as being in conflict. If successive lines have the same ancestry then if one of them is in conflict it taints the others. The simplest approach is that a single line of code which is present on both sides ends regions of conflict. Arguably it should be more than one line to declare peace, or that empty or whitespace only lines shouldn’t count towards it. I’m going to assume the simplest approach for a proof of concept.

An important case is when Alice adds a line to a function and Bob deletes the entire function. Obviously that should somehow be presented as a conflict but deleted lines are crucial to it. For that reason there needs to be some way of showing deleted lines in the conflict, definitely with proper annotations around them and possibly with the individual deleted lines commented out.

To detect conflicts each line is marked as ‘peaceful’, ‘skip’, ‘Alice won’, ‘Bob won’ or ‘both won‘. Once all lines are marked then the ones which are marked skip are, well, skipped. Other lines which border lines with a different marking which is not peaceful are marked as in conflict. Finally tainting is spread to neighboring lines which have the same state. Deleted lines are only presented to the user if they’re in conflict.

What to do in each case is best presented as a laundry list, so here goes. Each case is final-Alice-Bob.

missing missing missing: skip
missing missing present: Alice
missing present missing: Bob
missing present present: both (this is an unusual case but it can happen)
present missing missing: both (similar to the previous case)
present missing present: Bob
present present missing: Alice
present present present: peaceful

That seems to handle all the edge cases properly and covers the last of the theoretical details I needed to work out.

When a user resolves a conflict and does a commit it should first throw an error if conflict markers weren’t removed, then should assume the user edited the clean merge they would have seen if each line were presented verbatim without checking for conflicts. When doing a diff between the complete weave and the user’s final file version it should probably more heavily weight lines which were present than lines which were deleted but I’m not sure what the best way of doing that is and will probably make a prototype which doesn’t have any such heuristic.

Posted Sat May 25 22:08:52 2024 Tags:
In other news, water is wet.

Warnings appear to heighten the anticipatory anxiety a person may feel prior to viewing sensitive material while making them no less likely to consume that content [...] Additionally, participants' distress levels after viewing potentially triggering material were the same regardless of whether or not they received a warning.

"When people see trigger warnings it makes them feel anxious, but that anxiety doesn't seem to be any sort of helpful emotional preparation," said Bridgland. [...]

  • Warnings increase anticipatory anxiety. Across five studies, participants who read content warnings were more anxious prior to viewing potentially triggering material than those who did not.
  • Warnings did not influence emotional reactions to content. Across nine studies, content warnings did not affect participants' feelings of distress, fear, or anxiety after viewing sensitive content.
  • Warnings do not increase avoidance. Across five studies, participants viewed troubling content at about the same rate regardless of whether or not they received a trigger warning.
  • Warnings do not impact comprehension. Across three studies, content warnings did not affect participants' understanding of written material.

Happy ending: upon reading this study, members of the Mastodon HOA stopped asking Matt Blaze to put content warnings on black and white architectural photos "because they are depressing".

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Fri May 24 00:04:53 2024 Tags:
Routine training exercise. Nothing to see here.

A safety training in San Bruno this week went bad for the San Francisco Sheriff's Office, when chemicals used for crowd control leaked into the air around Portola Elementary School, affecting more than a dozen students and at least one adult.

Tara Moriarty, director of communications for the Sheriff's Office, said the agency was doing a routine training session for crowd control tactics inside a structure on an isolated section of the San Bruno Jail property.

Chemicals began leaking into the outside air at about 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday, including CS (2-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile, a component of tear gas) and OC gas (oleoresin capsicum, commonly known as pepper spray). [...]

"Teachers and students reported experiencing symptoms including burning sensations in the eyes, nose, and throat," Moriarty said. [...] Moriarty said she believed firefighters treated about 20 children and one adult at the scene and no one was hospitalized.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Thu May 23 23:40:52 2024 Tags:
...as early as 2032:

The technology uses GPS to compare a vehicle's speed with a dataset of posted speed limits. Once the car is at least 10 mph over the speed limit, the system would emit "a brief, one-time visual and audio signal to alert the driver."

It would not require California to maintain a list of posted speed limits. That would be left to manufacturers. It's likely these maps would not include local roads or recent changes. The bill states that if the system receives conflicting information about the speed limit, it must use the higher limit. [...]

Wiener's bill initially sought to require active speed governors, not passive, that use GPS technology to override a driver's control of a vehicle by automatically capping a car's speed if it detects speeding. [...]

Republican state Sen. Brian Dahle said he voted against it in part because he said sometimes people need to drive faster than the speed limit in an emergency. "It's just a nanny state that we're causing here," he said.

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

Posted Wed May 22 21:17:38 2024 Tags:
That was another excellent Cyberdelia and I need to share these amazing prize statues that Jared made for the costume contest. Now you can store 160 gigabytes inside Johnny Mnemonic's head, just like in the movie!

Why do I still need to advertise this party? Geez.

It was a bit lightly attended, but everyone who came, came on purpose. They all understood the assignment. "I would rather be with the people in this room than with the finest people in the world."

Also, please enjoy ten hours of Jones the Dolphin and ten hours of Lo-Tek Television.

We will be doing another Cyberdelia in September with a screening of Hackers, but I think we might start alternating events with Hackers and then a movie other than Hackers. Which brings up the question, which movies? The trick is, they have to be good but not that good. I think our criteria are:

  • Arguably "cyberpunk", whatever that means;
  • From the Nineteen Hundreds;
  • Either funny enough, or stupid enough, that you can drunkenly heckle it.

People keep suggesting good movies that are just too serious to work for a shouty, drunken viewing. Lemme head off a few at the pass: Strange Days: excellent movie, not funny. Ghost in the Shell, Akira: no humor, slow and talky. Lawnmower Man: so bad that I'm not sure I could even sit through it a second time. Anyway, make your case in the comments.

Posted Sat May 18 18:21:27 2024 Tags:
I was re-watching Black Sails and noticed a very subtle recurring gag that I had missed the first time around. When Eleanor, the inexplicably clean fence and barkeep, is doing her morning walk-and-talk around the bar, she's picking up cups off the tables, giving them a sniff, and then dumping most (not all) of them into a large pitcher.

She's checking to see if what's left in the cup is rum, and if so, she's just re-selling it.

They never explain this or even draw attention to it. Nasty little details like this are what make a show great.

That and the historically accurate pubic hair.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

Posted Wed May 15 18:39:29 2024 Tags:

Planet Debian upstream is hosted by Branchable.