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Links March 2022

Anarcat wrote a great blog post about switching from OpenNTP to Chrony which gives a good overview of how NTP works and how accurate the different versions are [1].

Bleeping Computer has an amusing article about criminals who copied a lot of data from NVidia servers including specs of their latest products [2], they are threatening to release all the data if NVidia doesn’t stop crippling their GPUs to make them unsuitable for crypto currency mining. I don’t support these criminals, but I think NVidia should allow people who buy hardware to use their property as they choose. If cryptocurrency miners buy all the NVidia products then NVidia still makes the sales, they could even auction them to make more money.

NPR has a disturbing article about the way execution by lethal injection works in the US [3]. It seems that most people die in an extremely unpleasant way. It makes the North Korean execution by anti-aircraft gun seem civilised.

The DirtyPipe vulnerability is the latest serious security issue in the Linux kernel [4]. The report of how it was discovered is very interesting and should be read by all sysadmins. SE Linux will not save you from this as the vulnerability allows writing to read-only files like /etc/passwd.

Politico has an insightful analysis of Putin, it’s not good news he wants to conquer all territory that had ever been part of a Russian empire at any time in history [5].

The Guardian has an informative article about the EU’s attempts to debunk Russian propaganda about Covid19 [6]. Fortunately the sanctions are reducing Russia’s ability to do such things now.

The Guardian has in interesting article about a project to use literary analysis to predict wars [7]. Funded by the German military but funding was cut after it was proven to work.

The Fact Act is a proposal by David Brin for political changes in the US to involve scientists and statisticians in an official advisory role in the legislative process [8], it’s an idea with a lot of potential.

Technology Review has an interesting interview with the leader of the NSA’s Research Directorate [9].

In 2008 the EFF posted a long and informative article about the RIAA’s war against music fans [10]. I had followed a lot of the news about this when it was happening, but I still learnt some things from this article that I hadn’t known at the time. Also considering past legal battles in the context of the current situation is useful. As an aside all the music I want to listen to is now on YouTube and youtube-dl works really well for me.

The 1952 edition of Psychiatry: Journal of Interpersonal Relations has an interesting article On Cooling the Mark Out [11] which starts about how criminal gangs engaged in fraud try to make their victims come to terms with the loss in a way that doesn’t involve the police. But it goes on to cover ways of dealing with loss of status in general. The layout is hacky with words broken by hyphens in the middle of lines as it appears to have been scanned from paper, converted to MS-Word, and from there to PDF. But it’s worth it.

The Internet Heist by Cory Doctorow is an insightful series of 3 articles about the MPAA (MAFIAA) attempts to take over all TV distribution in the US [12].

Wired has an interesting exerpt from the book “Spies, Lies, and Algorithms: The History and Future of American Intelligence”, by Amy B. Zegart [13]. Interesting summary of the “open source intelligence” systems (which have nothing to do with “open source” as free software). But it would be interesting to have an “open source” intelligence organisation along similar lines to “open source” software. The guy who tracks billionaire’s private jets is an example of this.

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