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Reading List, November 2017

  1. Samuel Vee, I see trad people, in Status 451, 5 November 2017. [Online]: https://status451.com/2017/11/05/i-see-trad-people/

    It seems that more and more, I’m sharing articles that would be frowned upon by the mainstream. I see this as a way to break some of the bubbles that are a part of life in a left-leaning college town. In this article, Samuel Vee cites theories by Haidt and Graham to understand why people who identify either as progessive or conservative do things that are decidedly un-progressive or un-conservative. In doing so, Vee argues that our political leanings come in through our moral foundations, and that these are innate, therefore identifying as part of the other political ideology is akin to being in the closet.

    Vee makes another point right in the beginning of the article pointing out the social progress that we have already achieved, and mentions, rightly so, that we should view today’s moral and social issues through the lens of society fifty years ago. This reminded me of a fragment from a lecture by Haidt at Duke University, in which he raised the same point.

  2. Kashmir Hill, How Facebook figures out everyone you’ve ever met, in Gizmodo, 7 November 2017.

    A look inside the privacy nightmare known as Facebook. This article describes how Facebook generates a shadow profile on each person in the world, not just from information that you’ve shared, but from information that other people share about you. This is crazy, because anyone’s op-sec is now the minimum of the op-sec of the worst offender in their network. Ever shared your phone number or made a call to someone who decides to share this information from their smartphone to Facebook? Facebook knows that you’ve spoken. Ever written an email to a business contact who has a bad smartphone policy? Facebook will suggest that the two of you connect.

    Simply deleting my Facebook account is not an option either, as this data collection will go on even if I don’t have a Facebook account.

  3. Eric S. Raymond, The long goodbye to C, in Armed and Dangerous, 7 November 2017. [Online]: http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=7711

    The old fart thinks that it is time to let C go. ESR mentions that he hasn’t started a new project in C for quite a while now, and with contenders like Python, Go, and Rust, the need to write new code in C is largely irrelevant.

    What I’d like to hear is why C++ is never considered as a serious contender. C++, especially the newer standards like C++11 and C++17 have evolved to be mature and modern standards that could easily give Go a run for its money. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how languages evolve in the next few years.

  4. Alice Gregory, The sorrow and shame of the accidental killer, 18 September 2017. [Online]: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/09/18/the-sorrow-and-the-shame-of-the-accidental-killer

    Thanks to Nishant for sharing this article. This story talks about the horror, shame, and sorrow of accidentally causing injury or death to another human being. In the case of an accident, we are too quick to blame and find someone responsible, but we never see the person who walks away as a victim.

    I went and listened to the ‘All Things Considered’ episode referenced in the article. In this episode, Maryann Gray reads a statement about causing the accidental death of an eight year old, and how she lives with that knowledge every day.

  5. Esther Inglis-Arkell, How an unpaid UK researcher saved the Japanese seaweed industry, in Ars Technica, 19 November 2017. [Online]: https://arstechnica.com/science/2017/11/how-an-unpaid-uk-researcher-saved-the-japanese-seaweed-industry/

    A fascinating story of how a researcher, fired from her university due to a policy of not hiring married women, discovered the secret Clark Kent and Superman relationship between seaweed and a pink sludge, leading to the commercial farming of seaweed.

  6. Arnab Ray, On Padmavati and selective outrage, in Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind, 20 November 2017. [Online]: https://greatbong.net/2017/11/20/on-padmavati-and-selective-outrage/

    Arnab points out the hypocrisy of the self-proclaimed Indian liberals, and points out that the behaviour of liberals is actually pretty fundamentalist-adjacent. Sure, liberals don’t call for physical harm, but social shaming and ostracisation play the same role in shutting down inconvenient speech.

  7. Kristina Panos, Joan Feynman found her place in the sun, in Hack A Day, 22 November 2017. [Online]: http://hackaday.com/2017/11/21/joan-feynman-found-her-place-in-the-sun/

    A look at Richard Feynman’s little sister, herself a physicist researching coronal mass ejections at NASA’s JPL. I must confess, I hadn’t even heard of Joan Feynman until I read this article.

  8. Brian Benchoff, Marguerite Perey: when the lab assistant gets the credit, in Hack A day, 28 November 2017. [Online]: https://hackaday.com/2017/11/28/marguerite-perey-when-the-lab-assistant-gets-the-credit/

    A story of the discovery of francium by Marguerite Perey, lab assistant at the Curie Institute. After her discovery of francium, she went on to get a bachelor’s degree and then a PhD from the Sorbonne, and was the first woman elected to the French Academy of Sciences.

  9. Ronald Minnich, Replace your exploit-ridden firmware with Linux, in The Linux Foundation’s Youtube channel, 27 October 2017. [Online]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iffTJ1vPCSo

    Turns out that every Intel microprocessor has Minix3 running inside the management-engine, the stuff of security nightmares. In this talk, Minnich discusses how they managed to de-fang the management engine, remove all the old, legacy, and buggy firmware, and replace it with a Linux kernel with a userspace written in Go. This project, called NERF, or non-extensible reduced firmware, apparently also helps reduce the boot time by orders of magnitude, although I must say that I don’t necessarily understand why servers take eight minutes to boot up.

  10. Andrew V. Suarez and Terry McGlynn, The fallacy of open-access publication, in The Chronicle of Higher Education, 15 November 2017. [Online]: http://www.chronicle.com/article/the-fallacy-of-open-access/241786

    Academic publishing is broken. Journals cost a lot of money, either to access or to publish, and sometimes for both. This is terrible news for the public, as they cannot access the results of scientific research paid for with their tax dollars. Open-access, or the philosophy that journals should be free to access is often touted as a solution, but has a downside that authors are now required to pay for publishing their work. In this article, the authors state that open-access does not solve the problems in the academic industry, and that open-access journals, motivated by a profit, could actually publish bad science. In my opinion, though, this article is written in a way that makes an open-access strawman, and reads like a propaganda piece for the old order, where colleges have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to get access to journals. Sharing so that you may form your own opinions.

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