Friday, October 9, 2015

Stuff I'm reading, Fleet Week edition

Zoom zoom go the Blue Angels!

  • The Kunduz hospital bombing: Terrible accident, or war crime?
    It’s understandably extremely hard to believe that any American would deliberately bomb a hospital: it’s the exact opposite of everything that America stands for. But wherever there is war, there are war crimes, no matter who is doing the fighting. Any investigation into this bombing has to start from the assumption that it’s at least possible a dreadful war crime was committed. Given that so far no American has even admitted the possibility, the U.S. self-investigation really does look like a joke.
  • Four more carmakers join diesel emissions row
    “The issue is a systemic one” across the industry, said Nick Molden, whose company Emissions Analytics tested the cars. The Guardian revealed last week that diesel cars from Renault, Nissan, Hyundai, Citroen, Fiat, Volvo and Jeep all pumped out significantly more NOx in more realistic driving conditions. NOx pollution is at illegal levels in many parts of the UK and is believed to have caused many thousands of premature deaths and billions of pounds in health costs.
  • SHA-1 Freestart Collision
    We've long known that SHA-1 is broken, at least theoretically. All the major browsers are planning to stop accepting SHA-1 signatures by 2017. Microsoft is retiring it on that same schedule. What's news is that our previous estimates may be too conservative.
  • Freestart collision for full SHA-1
    We present in this article a freestart collision example for SHA-1, i.e., a collision for its internal compression function. This is the first practical break of the full SHA-1, reaching all 80 out of 80 steps, while only 10 days of computation on a 64 GPU cluster were necessary to perform the attack. This work builds on a continuous series of cryptanalytic advancements on SHA-1 since the theoretical collision attack breakthrough in 2005
  • What Happens Next Will Amaze You
    Those who control the data gain enormous power over those who don't. The power is not overt, but implicit in the algorithms they write, the queries they run, and the kind of world they feel entitled to build.
  • Haunted By Data
    The data we're collecting about people has this same odd property. Tech companies come and go, not to mention the fact that we share and sell personal data promiscuously.

    But information about people retains its power as long as those people are alive, and sometimes as long as their children are alive. No one knows what will become of sites like Twitter in five years or ten. But the data those sites own will retain the power to hurt for decades.

  • The Whining Of The Online Ad Industry
    People are only mildly averse to advertising. They tolerate it in many forms in many media. What people hate is the type of ultra-annoying, creepy advertising that has been enabled by online ad tech.
  • 16th International Workshop on High Performance Transaction Systems (HPTS)
    Every two years, HPTS brings together a lively and opinionated group of participants to discuss and debate the pressing topics that affect today's systems and their design and implementation, especially where scalability is concerned. The workshop includes position paper presentations, panels, moderated discussions, and significant time for casual interaction. The only publications are slide decks by presenters who choose to post them.
  • Audio Testing - Automatic Gain Control
    In this particular case, the problem was not packet loss since we have ideal network conditions (one machine, packets go over the machine’s loopback interface = zero packet loss). But how can we have clock drift? Well, recall the fake device I wrote earlier that reads a file? It never touches the sound card like when the sound comes from the mic, so it runs on the system clock. That clock will drift against the machine’s sound card clock, even when we are on the same machine.
  • Summary of the Amazon DynamoDB Service Disruption and Related Impacts in the US-East Region
    Over the last few months, customers have rapidly adopted a new DynamoDB feature called Global Secondary Indexes (“GSIs”). GSIs allow customers to access their table data using alternate keys. Because GSIs are global, they have their own set of partitions on storage servers and therefore increase the overall size of a storage server’s membership data. Customers can add multiple GSIs for a given table, so a table with large numbers of partitions could have its contribution of partition data to the membership lists quickly double or triple. With rapid adoption of GSIs by a number of customers with very large tables, the partitions-per-table ratio increased significantly. This, in turn, increased the size of some storage servers’ membership lists significantly. With a larger size, the processing time inside the metadata service for some membership requests began to approach the retrieval time allowance by storage servers. We did not have detailed enough monitoring for this dimension (membership size), and didn’t have enough capacity allocated to the metadata service to handle these much heavier requests.
  • Irreversible Failures: Lessons from the DynamoDB Outage
    The worst outages stem from irreversible failures, where there is no simple compensating action you can make. In this DynamoDB incident, the initial triggering event—the network disruption—was quickly repaired. However, the system was now stuck in a state where the metadata service was overloaded. Fixing the network didn’t eliminate the overload. Amazon’s engineers were forced to invent a lengthy procedure, on the fly, to steer the system back to a stable state.
  • Job System 2.0: Lock-Free Work Stealing – Part 3: Going lock-free
    This week, we will finally tackle the heart of the job system: the implementation of the lock-free work-stealing queue. Read on for a foray into low-level programming.
  • JEP XYZ: Spin Loop Hint
    Provide an API that would allow Java code to hint to the runtime that it is in a spin loop. The API would be a pure hint, and will carry no semantic behavior requirements (i.e. a no-op is a valid implementation). Allow the JVM to benefit from spin loop specific behaviors that may be useful on certain hardware platforms. Provide both a no-op implementation and an intrinsic implementation in the JDK, and demonstrate an execution benefit on at least one major hardware platform.
  • Probability, Paradox, and the Reasonable Person Principle
    In this notebook, we cover the basics of probability theory, and show how to implement the theory in Python. (You should have a little background in probability and Python.) Then we show how to solve some particularly perplexing paradoxical probability problems.
  • Git from the bottom up
    Welcome to the world of Git. I hope this document will help to advance your understanding of this powerful content tracking system, and reveal a bit of the simplicity underlying it — however dizzying its array of options may seem from the outside.
  • Git Internals: Source code control and beyond
    This book is aimed at the developer who does not particularly like Subversion, Perforce or whatever SCM system they are currently using, has heard good things about Git, but doesn’t know where to start or why it’s so wonderful. It is meant to explain Git as simply as possible in a clean, concise, easily readable volume. My goal is to help you understand Git internals as well as usage at a fundamental level by the time you finish this book.

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