Links February 2009


Michael Anissimov writes about the theft of computers from the Los Alamos nuclear weapons lab [1]. He suggests that this incident (and others like it) pose a great risk to out civilisation. He advocates donating towards The Lifeboat Foundation [2] to try and mitigate risks to humanity. They suggest pledging $1000 per year for 25 years.

It’s interesting to note that people in Pakistan pay $8 per month for net access that better by most objective metrics than that which most people in first world can get [3]. It seems that we need to remove the cartel for the local loop to get good net access, either deregulate it entirely or make it owned by the local government who are more directly responsive to the residents.

Bruce Schneier wrote a post about a proposed US law to force all mobile phones with cameras to make a “click” sound when taking a picture [4]. The law is largely irrelevant, as it’s been law in Japan for a while most phones are already designed in that way. One interesting comment from MarkH was: But if congress REALLY wishes to benefit the public, I suggest that all guns in the U.S. be required, before each discharge, to make loud sounds (with appropriate time sequencing) simulating the flintlock technology that was common at the beginning of U.S. history, including cocking, use of the ramrod, etc. This would give fair warning of an impending discharge, and would limit firing rates to a few per minute. ROFL

Brief review of a Google Android phone vs an iPhone [5]. The Android G1 is now on sale in Australia! [6].

LWN has an article about the panel discussion at the LCA Security Mini-conf [7]. Jonathan Corbet has quoted me quite a bit in the article, thanks Jonathan!

Peter Ward gave an interesting TED talk about Hydrogen Sulphide and mass extinctions [8]. The best available evidence is that one of the worst extinctions was caused by H2S in the atmosphere which was produced by bacteria. The bacteria in question like a large amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. It’s yet another reason for reducing the CO2 production.

Michael Anissimov has written a good article summarising some of the dangers of space exploration [9], he suggests colonising the sea, deserts, and Antartica first (all of which are much easier and safer). “Until we gain the ability to create huge (miles wide or larger) air bubbles in space enclosed by rapidly self-healing transparent membranes, it will be cramped and overwhelmingly boring. You’ll spend even more time on the Internet up there than down here, and your connection will be slow“. A confined space and slow net access, that’s like being on a plane.

2 thoughts on “Links February 2009”

  1. Albert says:

    Russ, Are you blocking bogons? I can’t access your site from my new fios ip #, and I’ve run into problems where verizon has started using previously unpublished ips. I’m commenting from a vpn connnection. Anyway, the comment: I wish tazers made loud noises like guns do, maybe a warning horn like an air horn should be emitted constantly when a gun safety has been turned off.

  2. etbe says:

    Albert: I’ve been having some problems with my server. It’s running a lot of stuff and has run out of memory a couple of times.

    I’ve now configured Apache to fork fewer child processes, this may mean that at times when there are many connection it will take longer to give a worker process to your connection, but when it does it will rapidly do it’s work (and not get stuck in D state).

    I have no plans to ever block any IP addresses from connecting to my web server. I may at some future time block some from entering comments but plan to always allow everyone to read it.

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