« | Home | Categories | »

Arctic temperatures are so high they’re shocking scientists

Posted on February 27th, 2018 at 21:51 by John Sinteur in category: News


Over the weekend, the world’s northernmost weather station, located just 440 miles from the North Pole, warmed to 43 degrees Fahrenheit during what’s normally the coldest time of the year. That’s about 60 degrees above average for February. The rising temperatures, caused by a “warm air intrusion”, have left scientists in shock. Sea ice in the region is also at its lowest level on record.

“This is simply shocking. I don’t have the words”, meteorologist Eric Holthaus tweeted.

Write a comment

Between the Scenes – The Parkland Survivors Want to See the Manager: The Daily Show

Posted on February 27th, 2018 at 15:48 by John Sinteur in category: News

Write a comment

Apple confirms it uses Google’s cloud for iCloud

Posted on February 26th, 2018 at 23:43 by John Sinteur in category: News


Apple periodically publishes new versions of a PDF called the iOS Security Guide. For years the document contained language indicating that iCloud services were relying on remote data storage systems from Amazon Web Services, as well as Microsoft’s Azure.

But in the latest version, the Microsoft Azure reference is gone, and in its place is Google Cloud Platform. Before the January update, Apple most recently updated the iOS Security Guide in March.

Google’s cloud, powered by Amazon Web Services. Amazon Web Services, powered by iCloud. And all of it powered by Microsoft Azure. In the end, it’s all one dude in Nevada who gets USB keys shipped to him via UPS and who manually copies the files to his 90s era servers.

Write a comment

Mies Bouwman (Amsterdam, 31 december 1929 – 26 februari 2018)

Posted on February 26th, 2018 at 18:51 by John Sinteur in category: News

Write a comment

What I Saw Treating the Victims From Parkland Should Change the Debate on Guns

Posted on February 26th, 2018 at 12:00 by John Sinteur in category: News


I was looking at a CT scan of one of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who had been brought to the trauma center during my call shift. The organ looked like an overripe melon smashed by a sledgehammer, with extensive bleeding. How could a gunshot wound have caused this much damage?

The reaction in the emergency room was the same. One of the trauma surgeons opened a young victim in the operating room, and found only shreds of the organ that had been hit by a bullet from an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle which delivers a devastatingly lethal, high-velocity bullet to the victim. There was nothing left to repair, and utterly, devastatingly, nothing that could be done to fix the problem. The injury was fatal.

A year ago, when a gunman opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale airport with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun, hitting 11 people in 90 seconds, I was also on call. It was not until I had diagnosed the third of the six victims who were transported to the trauma center that I realized something out-of-the-ordinary must have happened. The gunshot wounds were the same low velocity handgun injuries as those I diagnose every day; only their rapid succession set them apart. And all six of the victims who arrived at the hospital that day survived.


The CDC is the appropriate agency to review the potential impact of banning AR-15 style rifles and high-capacity magazines on the incidence of mass shootings. The agency was effectively barred from studying gun violence as a public-health issue in 1996 by a statutory provision known as the Dickey amendment. This provision needs to be repealed so that the CDC can study this issue and make sensible gun-policy recommendations to Congress.

The Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) of 1994 included language which prohibited semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15, and also large-capacity magazines with the ability to hold more than 10 rounds. The ban was allowed to expire after 10 years on September 13, 2004. The mass murders that followed the ban’s lapse make clear that it must be reinstated.

Write a comment

The NRA’s plan to “harden” schools is terrifying

Posted on February 25th, 2018 at 19:23 by John Sinteur in category: News


The report identifies perimeter fencing, made with material that “clearly demonstrates territorial ownership,” as the “first physical and psychological barrier that a violent individual must overcome.” According to the report, the fences should not send a psychological message that the school is vulnerable, like this (ordinary school) fence:

Instead, the fence should look more like this prison yard-style fence:

National School Shield Task Force Report

No trees

Research shows that students learn better and are less stressed when they can see some greenery outside the classroom window. But according to the task force, trees and bushes on school grounds should instead be viewed as major security threats. They supposedly provide too many opportunities for a shooter to stash weapons and hide from surveillance cameras. Shrubbery, according to the report, is particularly bad if positioned next to the aforementioned fence, lest all that foliage provide cover to someone cutting through the fence or climbing over it.

If a school insists on landscaping, the NRA recommends very kid-friendly “thorn-bearing and sharp-leaved plant species to create natural physical barriers to deter aggressors.” The report does urge school leaders to keep in mind that such prickly barriers might also prevent people from escaping a mad shooter.

Putting a whole new spin on The Giving Tree, the report notes that trees may have one upside. A stately maple may provide a level of “blast shielding in the event that an offender attempts to utilize explosive devices in an assault on school property.”

Write a comment

Gun control

Posted on February 25th, 2018 at 13:44 by John Sinteur in category: News

Write a comment

China’s Xinjiang surveillance is the dystopian future nobody wants

Posted on February 25th, 2018 at 11:21 by John Sinteur in category: News


“Xinjiang has gotten little attention, but this is where we’re really seeing the coming together of multiple streams of technology [for surveillance] that just hasn’t happened in other contexts before,” said Steven Feldstein, fellow in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Nine years later, Xinjiang has seen the widespread implementation of sophisticated high-tech surveillance and monitoring technology, what BuzzFeed called “a 21st century police state.” But what happens in Xinjiang does not stay in Xinjiang. The technologies piloted there are already spreading across all of China, and there are even early signs that Chinese companies are beginning to sell some of this technology to other authoritarian-minded countries. If this trend continues, the future of technology, particularly for those in the Global South, could more resemble what’s happening in Xinjiang than developments in Silicon Valley.

Write a comment

John Oliver, HBO Beat Coal Executive’s Defamation Lawsuit

Posted on February 25th, 2018 at 0:18 by John Sinteur in category: News


Days after returning from his Last Week Tonight winter hiatus, John Oliver has emerged victorious from a legal fight with the subject of one of his segments.

Robert Murray, Murray Energy and other associated coal companies sued both the network and Oliver in June, arguing the host created a “villainous” portrait of the coal baron.

The original segment criticized the company’s practices regarding the safety and health of its employees, described Murray as a “geriatric Dr. Evil” and featured a man dressed as a squirrel who proclaimed “Eat shit, Bob.” The lawsuit prompted a second segment in which Oliver told viewers about the litigation.

The case was remanded to West Virginia state court where HBO and Partially Important Productions submitted two motions asking the judge to dismiss the matter, one arguing that the challenged statements are protected by the First Amendment and another that the court lacked jurisdiction.

HBO argued Murray failed to state a claim for defamation, claiming the serious portions of the segment were based on judicial opinions and government reports while the humorous jabs at Murray’s age and appearance was satire that can’t be proven false.

Judge Jeffrey Cramer agreed, and on Wednesday sent a brief letter to the attorneys notifying them of his decision to grant dismissal.

“I find the arguments set forth in the Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim and Reply well-founded, appropriate in this matter and will grant the same,” writes Cramer. “The Court adopts, with little exception, Defendants’ argument in support of their Motion regarding all issues addressed in the same.”

Write a comment

Collective Nouns for Humans in the Wild by Kathy Fish

Posted on February 24th, 2018 at 18:50 by John Sinteur in category: News


A group of grandmothers is a tapestry. A group of toddlers, a jubilance (see also: a bewailing). A group of librarians is an enlightenment. A group of visual artists is a bioluminescence. A group of short story writers is a Flannery. A group of musicians is — a band.


A resplendence of poets.

A beacon of scientists.

A raft of social workers.


A group of first responders is a valiance. A group of peaceful protestors is a dream. A group of special education teachers is a transcendence. A group of neonatal ICU nurses is a divinity. A group of hospice workers, a grace.


Humans in the wild, gathered and feeling good, previously an exhilaration, now: a target.

A target of concert-goers.

A target of movie-goers.

A target of dancers.


A group of schoolchildren is a target.



Write a comment

We all hate Word docs and PDFs, but have they ever led you to being hit with 32 indictments?

Posted on February 24th, 2018 at 0:17 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News


They are potentially the two most popular file formats in the world – Microsoft Word’s .DOC and Adobe’s .PDF. And it’s fair to say they have caused millions of people billions of hours of frustration. But spare a thought for lobbyist and Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort, of Virginia, for whom translating from one format to another has led directly to the imposition of no less than 32 US federal indictments for fraud and conspiracy. He denies any wrongdoing.

We have all experienced the situation where you save a Word document as a PDF, only to later find you need to get that information back in an editable form and can’t find your original file.

So what do you do? First, you pray you saved the PDF in a way that enables you to copy-paste that text back into a new Word doc. It is a royal pain in the ass if you didn’t – you need to get hold of a piece of software that can scan the document and pulls out the words. That rarely works perfectly so it needs tidying up.


Write a comment


Posted on February 23rd, 2018 at 19:55 by John Sinteur in category: News


/bin/true used to be an empty file. The shell would open it, do nothing, and exit with a true status code.
When the Unix Support Group (development organization at Bell Labs) formalized everything, they gave it a long SCCS header, as they did every other file, and then needed to add “exit 0” at the end. The file was therefore infinitely larger than before.
At some point, somewhere (not sure where) it was decided this was poor engineering, probably because the shell spends time reading that big SCCS header as a comment one byte at a time.
(It probably became a shell builtin somewhere along the line too, but that’s for someone else to study.)
The command moved to /usr/bin/true. I don’t know when, where and especially why.
Eventually to avoid the unbearable overhead of executing a comment that shouldn’t be there at all, someone rewrote true as a C program. What was once an empty file is now a non-portable executable binary compiled from C.
This is why we can’t have good software. This program could literally have been an empty file, a nothing at all, a name capturing the essence perfectly.
But the inexorable forces of improvement dictate we can’t accept that, so here we are:

% file /usr/bin/true
/usr/bin/true: Mach-O 64-bit executable x86_64

Instead of:

% file true
true: empty
% true
% echo $?

Write a comment

Man removes feds’ spy cam, they demand it back, he refuses and sues

Posted on February 22nd, 2018 at 15:22 by John Sinteur in category: News


Last November, a 74-year-old rancher and attorney was walking around his ranch just south of Encinal, Texas, when he happened upon a small portable camera strapped approximately eight feet high onto a mesquite tree near his son’s home. The camera was encased in green plastic and had a transmitting antenna.

Not knowing what it was or how it got there, Ricardo Palacios removed it.

Soon after, Palacios received phone calls from Customs and Border Protection officials and the Texas Rangers. Each agency claimed the camera as its own and demanded that it be returned. Palacios refused, and they threatened him with arrest.

Palacios, who had run-ins with local CBP agents going back several years, took the camera as the last straw. He was tired of agents routinely trespassing on his land, and, even after complaining several times, he was frustrated that his grievances were not being heard.

As a possible way to ward off the threat of arrest, he sued the two agencies, along with a named CPB agent, Mario Martinez. Palacios accused them of trespass and of violating his constitutional rights.


Palacios’ ranch is situated at the 35-mile marker due north from Laredo, along Interstate 35, just three miles south of the small town of Encinal. The nearest US-Mexico border crossing is at Laredo.

The precise distance between the border and Palacios’ ranch matters: under federal law, agents can go onto private property that is within 25 miles of the border “for the purpose of patrolling the border to prevent the illegal entry of aliens into the United States.”

In other words, if Palacios’ ranch were within that range, he likely wouldn’t have a case.

Write a comment

The blue marble

Posted on February 22nd, 2018 at 10:39 by John Sinteur in category: News

Write a comment

Florida Teachers’ Pension Fund Invested in Maker of School Massacre Gun

Posted on February 21st, 2018 at 19:24 by John Sinteur in category: News


As Florida teachers grieve over the mass shooting that left 17 students and colleagues dead last week, some of them may be surprised to learn they’ve been helping fund the firearms industry—including the company that made the gun used that bloody Wednesday.

A state pension plan for Florida teachers held 41,129 shares in American Outdoor Brands Co. valued at more than a half-million dollars, according to a Dec. 31 securities filing listing the plan’s holdings. Formerly known as Smith & Wesson, Springfield, Massachusetts-based American Outdoors manufactured the semiautomatic AR-15 assault rifle that was used in the Feb. 14 attack on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

If you still believe a pension fund exists to benefit employees contributing to it, I’ve got a nice bridge for sale…

Write a comment

Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung Volcano Erupted Today and the Photos Are Spooky as Hell

Posted on February 21st, 2018 at 18:58 by John Sinteur in category: News


If you’re in the area, authorities have advised that people should stay at least 4 miles away from the volcano. Keep you and yours safe out there, friends. The power of a volcano is obviously no joke.

Write a comment

How Banks Could Control Gun Sales if Washington Won’t

Posted on February 21st, 2018 at 18:57 by John Sinteur in category: News


Here’s an idea.

What if the finance industry — credit card companies like Visa, Mastercard and American Express; credit card processors like First Data; and banks like JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo — were to effectively set new rules for the sales of guns in America?

Collectively, they have more leverage over the gun industry than any lawmaker. And it wouldn’t be hard for them to take a stand.

PayPal, Square, Stripe and Apple Pay announced years ago that they would not allow their services to be used for the sale of firearms.

“We do not believe permitting the sale of firearms on our platform is consistent with our values or in the best interests of our customers,” a spokesman for Square told me.


There is precedent for credit card issuers to ban the purchase of completely legal products. Just this month, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America banned the use of their cards to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

To be clear: Those three banks won’t let you use your credit card to buy Bitcoin, but they will happily let you use it to buy an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle

Write a comment

Newt Gingrich Says Arming Teachers Only Long-Term Solution to School Shootings

Posted on February 21st, 2018 at 15:11 by John Sinteur in category: News


It’s funny when an Onion story on five-blade razor cartridges becomes a real product just a few years later. It’s fucking insane when an Onion story on arming schoolteachers becomes a Republican talking point just a few years later.

Write a comment

Picking apart the crashing iOS string

Posted on February 19th, 2018 at 10:29 by John Sinteur in category: News

Okay, I guess I learned a few new things today…



Indic scripts are abugidas; which means that their “letters” are consonants, which you can attach diacritics to to change the vowel. By default, consonants have a base vowel. So, for example, क is “kuh” (kə, often transcribed as “ka”), but I can change the vowel to make it के (the “ka” in “okay”) का (“kaa”, like “car”).

Usually, the default vowel is the ə sound, though not always (in Bengali it’s more of an o sound).

Because of the “default” vowel, you need a way to combine consonants. For example, if you wished to write the word “ski”, you can’t write it as स + की (sa + ki = “saki”), you must write it as स्की. What’s happened here is that the स got its vowel “killed”, and got tacked on to the की to form a consonant cluster ligature.

You can also write this as स्‌की . That little tail you see on the स is known as a “virama”; it basically means “remove this vowel”. Explicit viramas are sometimes used when there’s no easy way to form a ligature, e.g. in ङ्‌ठ because there is no simple way to ligatureify ङ into ठ. Some scripts also prefer explicit viramas, e.g. “ski” in Malayalam is written as സ്കീ, where the little crescent is the explicit virama.

In unicode, the virama character is always used to form a consonant cluster. So स्की was written as <स,  ्, क,  ी>, or <sa, virama, ka, i>. If the font supports the cluster, it will show up as a ligature, otherwise it will use an explicit virama.

For Devanagari and Bengali, usually, in a consonant cluster the first consonant is munged a bit and the second consonant stays intact. There are exceptions – sometimes they’ll form an entirely new glyph (क + ष = क्ष), and sometimes both glyphs will change (ड + ड = ड्ड, द + म = द्म, द + ब = द्ब).

Write a comment

Your moment of zen

Posted on February 18th, 2018 at 19:00 by John Sinteur in category: News

Bathtime bliss

Write a comment


  1. If only my kids could be like this. I mean I would take an hour a day n be happy!

  2. Dogs boiled in their skins? I’m dubious about the culinary value of that. Does it make them easier to peel or something?

Every Member of Congress Who Took Money From the NRA and Tweeted ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ to Parkland

Posted on February 17th, 2018 at 23:30 by John Sinteur in category: News


Here are all the lawmakers who have tweeted “thoughts and prayers” with one hand while eagerly cashing NRA checks with the other. Keep in mind that the totals below, provided by the campaign contribution tracking site OpenSecrets.org, represent just the money given directly to that legislator in their most recent campaign.

103 Republicans, 1 Democrat.

Write a comment


  1. Congress is addicted to Blood Money from the NRA.

  2. I loved the arguement that Congress should have the same health care as the rest of the nation. Shouldn’t they also have the same protection we give our children?

Man sues Verizon when his intimate photos show up on stranger’s phone

Posted on February 16th, 2018 at 11:00 by John Sinteur in category: News


Crommie bought a Verizon LG V20 for $167 last week in Molalla for his grandmother and offered to download her photos and videos backed up on the Verizon cloud to the new phone.

But Crommie noticed as he scrolled through his grandma’s photos the next day that there were photos of a man and woman and their child mixed in. He realized that the woman in the photos was a former co-worker he hadn’t seen since the summer and the man was her boyfriend.

Crommie reached out to his former co-worker on Facebook and called her about the photos. She told him the photos had been on Smith’s phone.

Crommie said how they got on his grandma’s new phone remains a mystery. He went with Smith last week to the Molalla store and confirmed that a manager suggested suing Verizon.

“There’s no connection between them and my grandma, their phone numbers aren’t the same, we later cleared the phone completely and the same photos came back again,” he said.

Peters said she wonders and worries if their pictures have been downloaded onto other Verizon phones.

“The Cloud” (noun) – somebody else’s computer, that you share with strangers, at an unknown location, maintained by the lowest bidder.


Write a comment


  1. Can’t sue clouds.

Trump Scolds Shooter’s Classmates for Failing to Report Him

Posted on February 16th, 2018 at 9:34 by John Sinteur in category: News


Again and again is my favorite. “The first couple times you tell the cops that this guy might be planning to murder 17 people, they’re going to ignore, you, obviously. Make sure you keep telling them. That’s your responsibility.”

Reporters, politicians, trained psychiatrists and others have issued countless warnings about this dude being an unreasonable, narcissistic, war-hungry, short-tempered and mentally damaged man-child who shouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near the White House. Unfortunately that all amounted to fuck-all a couple of Novembers ago.

Write a comment

Veteran Congressman Can Still Remember When Inaction On Gun Violence Actually Presented A Moral Dilemma

Posted on February 16th, 2018 at 9:26 by John Sinteur in category: News


Thinking back to a far simpler time, veteran congressman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) told reporters Thursday that he could still remember when his inaction on gun violence actually presented a moral dilemma. “I can still recall how, years ago, deciding not to take any steps to address universal background checks or a broken mental healthcare system following a mass shooting felt like a real, concrete struggle,” said Grassley, a member of Congress since 1975, reminiscing on how he used to do a lot of mental gymnastics to justify his idleness on the epidemic and would frequently lie awake at night contemplating whether there was blood on his hands. “I have a lot of memories of going back and forth on whether accepting all this money from the NRA made me complicit in all of these deaths. I would sometimes get so troubled by it, I’d even ask my wife or my friends if they thought I was a good person, but nowadays, I just fire off my ‘thoughts and prayers’ tweet without thinking about it and just keep going about my day.” At press time, Grassley admitted that he was starting to get a bit bored after continuing to talk about the subject for so long.

Write a comment

Trump: ‘I Am Totally Opposed to Domestic Violence’

Posted on February 15th, 2018 at 23:04 by John Sinteur in category: News


“I am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind, everyone knows that,” President Trump said Wednesday during a brief press availability. “And it almost wouldn’t even have to be said. So now you hear it. But you all know it.”

“But there are good people on both sides of the domestic violence discussion”, right?

Write a comment


  1. On another very dark day after another school shooting, it his is use of
    “almost” that struck me so. I can’t get 5th ave out of my mind. Is this what he meant? He’s exempt from any shooting?
    He is a real Goliath. His illegal support system has to be removed one by one. Like he does his enemies. Twitter won’t let me post a thing or two. I don’t know why, I thought it was pretty tame but m n the extreme side of disgusted most days. I did get one off to flotus & the shithead asking what if this happened in Barron trump’s school?
    Mafia I tell ya. We have the mafia in the wh. And we will find that Donald was nearly overdrawn $$$ in his prepolitical world. And that he could see that Russia was intrigued with him. Intrigued enough to help. He accepted Russian assistance to advantage himself in a national election. He has offered Russia gifts in exchange. Trump is making 10s of millions of $$$. If he stays 4 yrs he could be in the $100s of millions.
    He has & will do anything to win. He mst be removed from office before even worse destruction happens. I think, we ain’t seen nothing yet!

  2. I do not know why my post is anonymous. Different device

  3. @Rainymyth: Until now, this kind of capture of the institutions of the state only happened in those weird places, like the ‘Stans, SE Asia, ME & Africa etc. Perhaps we were naive and there was always this vulnerability – belief in scandal and gossip, magnified by the media (for profit). This is what the “Reality TV” phenomenon has done to us. And we just can’t stop watching…

Nikolas Cruz, Florida Shooting Suspect, Was Expelled From School

Posted on February 15th, 2018 at 17:26 by John Sinteur in category: News


In the hours after the shooting, people who knew Mr. Cruz described him as a “troubled kid” who enjoyed showing off his firearms, bragging about killing animals and whose mother would resort to calling the police to have them come to their home to try to talk some sense into him. At a school with about 3,000 students, Mr. Cruz stayed to himself and had few friends but struck fear in some students with erratic behavior and an affinity for violence.


Write a comment

I’m Gonna Give You a Number

Posted on February 15th, 2018 at 9:53 by John Sinteur in category: News

Write a comment

Someone Is Sending Amazon Sex Toys to Strangers. Amazon Has No Idea How to Stop It.

Posted on February 15th, 2018 at 9:22 by John Sinteur in category: News


Nikki’s story is part of a broiling internal mystery that is flummoxing Amazon, according to a source at the company: Someone is shipping out unsolicited products, frequently sex toys, to seemingly random customers, and the company does not yet know why they’re being purchased, and why they’re being shipped to people like Nikki.

Write a comment


  1. It’s the product recommendation AI gone rogue

FAQ: What happens when I choose to “Suppress Ads” on Salon?

Posted on February 14th, 2018 at 15:50 by John Sinteur in category: News


For our beta program, we’ll start by applying your processing power to mine cryptocurrencies to recoup lost ad revenue when you use an ad blocker.  We plan to further use any learnings from this to help support the evolution and growth of blockchain technology, digital currencies and other ways to better service the value exchange between content and user contribution.

Although this isn’t something ad blockers are unable to block (if they aren’t already) it is funny how they always present this as a binary choice: view adds, or do this other thing we want. They always forget option 3: never bother coming to the site again. So, with that in mind I’d just like to say: Salon and thanks for all the phish!

Write a comment

Pastor was ‘counseling’ the young, naked man tied up in his car, he says

Posted on February 14th, 2018 at 9:39 by John Sinteur in category: News



In the front seat of the car, police said they found quite the sight.

A man was sitting in the passenger’s seat completely naked, according to a criminal complaint obtained by KDKA. The only thing he was “wearing” was the nylon rope tied around him.

In the back seat of the car was George Gregory, a 61-year-old pastor at a church in West Homestead, Penn., police said. When police walked up to the vehicle, they said they could see Gregory rearranging his clothing, WPXI reports.

Aaaah, counseling… is that what they call it these days?

Write a comment

« Older Entries Newer Entries »