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Links February 2021

Elestic Search gets a new license to deal with AWS not paying them [1]. Of course AWS will fork the products in question. We need some anti-trust action against Amazon.

Big Think has an interesting article about what appears to be ritualistic behaviour in chompanzees [2]. The next issue is that if they are developing a stone-age culture does that mean we should treat them differently from other less developed animals?

Last Week in AWS has an informative article about Parler’s new serverless architecture [3]. They explain why it’s not easy to move away from a cloud platform even for a service that’s designed to not be dependent on it. The moral of the story is that running a service so horrible that none of the major cloud providers will touch it doesn’t scale.

Patheos has an insightful article about people who spread the most easily disproved lies for their religion [4]. A lot of political commentary nowadays is like that.

Indi Samarajiva wrote an insightful article comparing terrorism in Sri Lanka with the right-wing terrorism in the US [5]. The conclusion is that it’s only just starting in the US.

Belling Cat has an interesting article about the FSB attempt to murder Russian presidential candidate Alexey Navalny [6].

Russ Allbery wrote an interesting review of Anti-Social, a book about the work of an anti-social behavior officer in the UK [7]. The book (and Russ’s review) has some good insights into how crime can be reduced. Of course a large part of that is allowing people who want to use drugs to do so in an affordable way.

Informative post from Electrical Engineering Materials about the difference between KVW and KW [8]. KVA is bigger than KW, sometimes a lot bigger.

Arstechnica has an interesting but not surprising article about a “supply chain” attack on software development [9]. Exploiting the way npm and similar tools resolve dependencies to make them download hostile code. There is no possibility of automatic downloads being OK for security unless they are from known good sites that don’t allow random people to upload. Any sort of system that allows automatic download from sites like the Node or Python repositories, Github, etc is ripe for abuse. I think the correct solution is to have dependencies installed manually or automatically from a distribution like Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, etc where there have been checks on the source of the source.

Devon Price wrote an insightful Medium article “Laziness Does Not Exist” about the psychological factors which can lead to poor results that many people interpret as “laziness” [10]. Everyone who supervises other people’s work should read this.

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