Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday afternoon reading

Our Japanese Maple has burst into new growth, indicating that it's truly springtime now.

  • Brian Krebs reports on getting SWATted: The World Has No Room For Cowards
    I have seen many young hackers discussing SWATing attacks as equivalent to calling in a bomb threat to get out of taking exams in high school or college. Unfortunately, calling in a bomb threat is nowhere near as dangerous as sending a SWAT team or some equivalent force to raid someone’s residence. This type of individual prank puts peoples’ lives at risk, wastes huge amounts of taxpayer dollars, and draws otherwise scarce resources away from real emergencies. What’s more, there are a lot of folks who will confront armed force with armed force, all with the intention of self-defense.
  • Eric Rice posted a nice summary of Lawrence Lessig's lecture at Harvard Law School: A summary of Lawrence Lessig’s Chair Lecture at Harvard Law School. A transcript of the lecture is also available here. Since we're on the subject, if you're continuing to try to understand the Aaron Swartz affair, you'll want to read Larissa Macfarquhar's article in the New Yorker: Requiem for a Dream
    He became absorbed by the process of change. How should you word a petition or design a Web site or dramatize an outrage so as to entice the most people to become involved or donate money? How does Congress work? How do you get a bill passed? (He spent some time interning in the office of Representative Alan Grayson, of Florida, because his friend Matt Stoller worked there.) How did Robert Moses acquire so much power from a position that officially had almost no power at all? He came to believe that the influence of money in American politics was so enormous a problem that possibly little else could be solved until that was.
    And you'll want to read Quinn Norton's article in The Atlantic: Life Inside the Aaron Swartz Investigation
    To be a felon in this country is to be a pariah, to be unlistened to. Aaron wanted more than anything to speak to power, to make reforms in the very system that was attacking him now. In most states a felon can't even vote. The thought of him not voting was unfathomable.
  • Here's a fascinating story: The Professor, the Bikini Model and the Suitcase Full of Trouble
    According to Rusty Payne, a spokesman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, if Frampton and Armstrong were unaware of their involvement, they would be the exception. He had never heard of a case in which a virtual “honey trap” had been used to dupe someone into being an unwitting drug mule. “When it comes to drug trafficking, we rarely see someone duped or used as part of a ruse,” he said. “It is very typical for those arrested to claim no knowledge or involvement.”
  • The story of Roberto Clemente and the bat he used when he got his 3,000th hit: 3000 hits. Three bats. One enduring mystery.
    But it turns out my dad didn't know the whole story behind that Clemente bat in my old bedroom. Turns out Tony Bartirome didn't know it, either. It's a story about memory. It's a story about chance. It's a story about stories. It's a story about the very nature of sports and memorabilia.
  • Another fascinating sporting story, with wonderful pictures to accompany it: The Sky Is Burning: Caught in the Pagami Creek Fire
    It was a world of black and orange. The islands in the lake were on fire. The entire shoreline was on fire. The air was thick with ash, soot, and glowing embers being blown across the lake at 50 miles an hour; they couldn’t look west. Soot got in their eyes, coated their hair, their noses, and their throats. They had a fleece jacket, which they soaked in water to breath through, but it didn’t stop the headaches, the sense of being smothered, of drowning in air. Everything was burning and there was no place to go. They could duck their heads underwater for a few seconds to escape it all, but they couldn’t keep doing that forever. They both were almost certain they were going to die, but after a brief talk, they agreed not to give up. They had daughters who needed them.
Happy Ides of March or St. Patrick's Day or whatever suits your fancy; hope you find something good to read, wherever you are this weekend!

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