Priorities in security

Aug. 25th, 2016 08:02 pm
[personal profile] mjg59
I read this tweet a couple of weeks ago:

and it got me thinking. Security research is often derided as unnecessary stunt hacking, proving insecurity in things that are sufficiently niche or in ways that involve sufficient effort that the realistic probability of any individual being targeted is near zero. Fixing these issues is basically defending you against nation states (who (a) probably don't care, and (b) will probably just find some other way) and, uh, security researchers (who (a) probably don't care, and (b) see (a)).

Unfortunately, this may be insufficient. As basically anyone who's spent any time anywhere near the security industry will testify, many security researchers are not the nicest people. Some of them will end up as abusive partners, and they'll have both the ability and desire to keep track of their partners and ex-partners. As designers and implementers, we owe it to these people to make software as secure as we can rather than assuming that a certain level of adversary is unstoppable. "Can a state-level actor break this" may be something we can legitimately write off. "Can a security expert continue reading their ex-partner's email" shouldn't be.
[personal profile] jazzyjj
Hi everyone. The book which I'm reviewing today wasn't actually recommended to me by anybody. Back in the days when the news was much better and much more upbeat than it has been in recent years, I was a big National Public Radio (NPR) fan. More specifically, I frequently listened to Chicago's NPR member station 91.5 FM WBEZ. This was partly because I tuned in often in my bedroom, but mainly because my parents always had that station on in the kitchen. They still do to this day. I still listen to WBEZ off and on, mainly for the great cultural programming which they offer. So when I saw that this book was available from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, I immediately downloaded and read it. The narrator did a great job with the book.

This one was written by Lisa A. Phillips, and published in 2006 by CDs Books. Ms. Phillips interviewed several public-radio personalities. Those curious about National Public Radio--including how it all started--will certainly want to put this one on your book list. I for one have always enjoyed putting names with voices and vice versa, so I enjoyed this book very much.

(no subject)

Aug. 24th, 2016 12:32 pm
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
So, the very morning after I complained about the chair in my office, an email went out to the listserv saying we could come to the English building to pick up one of the outgoing old chairs if we wanted. I took my measuring tape and found the tallest one (feeling slightly like a criminal casing the joint) and now I am satisfied.

I have also signed up for internet service. I am not exactly thrilled about that but I finally figured out that the root of the problem was very high latency; I was getting ping times at the slow end of dialup speeds. I am willing to admit that medium-speed internet is one of the things I won't compromise on.

"I can install it myself," I said to the ISP guy.

"I'm sure you can, it's not that hard," he said.

Never had I wanted so badly to say, "That wasn't a question."
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
So, right after I moved in to my apartment I set up my desk and tried to set up my desktop, only to realize that I had no idea where the power cord had run off to. My current hypothesis is that I accidentally didn't bring it with me when I moved in with my sister, or I accidentally didn't bring it with me to Iowa. They didn't have one at Best Buy, they didn't have one at Target, they didn't have one at the Iowa State University computer store, so I ordered one off NewEgg.

Whoops. I ordered one off the NewEgg Marketplace.

So, a few days pass, a package arrives in the mail.

It's an HDMI cable.

I am first confused, then angry, then confused again. Eventually I get in touch with the seller and they promise to send me the correct cable right away. (At this point I check my email inbox three times to confirm that I actually ordered the correct cable.)

A few more days pass, a package arrives in the mail. I have just come from having a tetanus shot so I'm not in a great mood. (I didn't step on a rusty nail or anything; I went to Student Health for an unrelated thing and they were like "While you're here, has it been a REALLY LONG TIME since your last tetanus shot?")

It's an HDMI cable AGAIN.

Eventually I get in touch with the seller and they agree to just give me a refund so I can buy a power cable from some place that's going to send me a power cable.

(The seller was RiteAV. I can't leave a bad review for them on NewEgg because I didn't have a customer account when I ordered the cable, so I created a customer account just to leave a bad review, but I actually can only review a seller if I bought the thing under my customer account. I feel 10% bad about calling them out because they were nice and apologetic about it, but they sent the wrong cable TWICE.)

They offered to refund me and send me a new cable, but if they sent me another HDMI cable I would have four HDMI cables, and I have no earthly idea what I'd do with four HDMI cables.

Meanwhile, I'm having trouble writing in my office because the chairs are too low, and I'm having trouble writing at home because I'm only getting about 200 Kbps for internet speed. I feel mildly resentful that the cable company is charging my landlord for providing free internet to the apartment but doing it so badly that half of my neighbors are paying the cable company on TOP of that to get decent bandwidth. So I would hate it if I had to do that, but also, I actually do need decent bandwidth!

hasty Worldcon notes

Aug. 23rd, 2016 10:37 am
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
Several things I recommended during Worldcon just now:

I had a very good time at Worldcon and am recovering now.

[Linkspam] Monday, August 22

Aug. 22nd, 2016 07:49 pm
tim: A bright orange fish. (fish)
[personal profile] tim
[CW: rape] I Anonymously Reported My Rape for the Anonymous Attention, by Nicole Silverberg for Reductress (2016-08-17). See, you can write humor that deals with rape and that's actually funny.

The Blood-bag: Co-narcissists and Narcissists in Tech, by Marlena Compton and Valerie Aurora (2016-08-22). On people who enable narcissists (i.e. most people who work in the tech industry.) The "blood bag" metaphor is so good.

How To Make a Real Commitment to Diversity, by Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (2016-08-17). The description of professors who give lip service to diversity in their programs but refuse to take the slightest risk to encourage it (or even to, you know, discipline predatory people) is so familiar.

“You Do Not Exist To Be Used”: Dismantling Ideas of Productivity in Life Purpose, by Gillian Giles for The Body Is Not an Apology (2016-08-17). "You do not exist to be used."

Shameless plug: buy a "San Fran Trans Co" shirt from my friend's collective!

What It's Like to Have 'High-Functioning' Anxiety, by Sarah Schuster for The Mighty (2016-06-27). In general I don't find "high-functioning"/"low-functioning" typologies to be useful, and I don't find everything in this article rings true for me, but some of it does.

Meeting the Free Speech Crusaders Who Want to End Political Correctness, by Sam Kriss for Vice (2016-08-17). This line is brilliant, about why Internet trolls love citing the notion of "debate": "It's not hard to see why: only in a formal debate do you have to give stupid and boring ideas a hearing they don't deserve."

The Troubling Trendiness Of Poverty Appropriation, by July Westhale for The Establishment (2015-11-23). "It’s likely, from where I sit, that this back-to-nature and boxed-up simplicity is not being marketed to people like me, who come from simplicity and heightened knowledge of poverty, but to people who have not wanted for creature comforts. For them to try on, glamorize, identify with. "

I, Racist by John Metta (2015-07-06). "But here is the irony, here’s the thing that all the angry Black people know, and no calmly debating White people want to admit: The entire discussion of race in America centers around the protection of White feelings."

Activism, Language, and Differences of Opinion, by Julia Serano (2016-07-19) -- links to some of Serano's greatest hits re: language, politics, and social justice.


Aug. 21st, 2016 09:12 am
[personal profile] jazzyjj
Editor's Note: The first part of this entry is not totally accurate. I did that on purpose. Not all of the heARTwords writings are factual, even other people's writings. But the second part of this entry is true.

If I found myself in a situation where I was being discriminated against because of my disability, what would I do? I have actually never before faced any disability discrimination. But if someone or a group of people were to do this to me, I'd first try to tell them that discrimination against anybody is illegal and to please stop it. I would be nice about it, but firm. If they still didn't stop, I'd threaten to contact an advocacy organization and get them involved. Then if they stopped I wouldn't even contact an organization, but if the discrimination still continued I would have no choice but to involve the organization.

What do I think is the biggest misconception about people with disabilities? I think the biggest misconception facing those of us with disabilities is that we're not real people, or if we are then we're all exactly alike. Well, the truth is that we are all people but we're not all exactly alike. In other words, one size does not fit all. To borrow from some Disability Awareness trainings, "if you've met one person with a disability you've met *one* person with a disability. No 2 people with disabilities are exactly alike, just as no 2 people are exactly alike." Period, end of story.

(no subject)

Aug. 21st, 2016 07:22 am
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
I keep reading Carol Bly's "The Passionate, Accurate Story" and then getting myself tied up in knots thinking I've got to write stories about global warming and nuclear weapons and whatever.

It's not that I don't want to write stories about global warming and nuclear weapons and whatever, but they kind of have to be subtle enough that I can respect them, and also not just retreads of Paolo Bacigalupi.

I'm already dealing with a terrible and insidious level of perfectionism, where I can't even get to the stage of having an idea for something unless I can feel like it's going to be fantastic right from the beginning. So when I put on top of that, "OH, AND YOU HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO SOLVE THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS" - I mean, that's nonsense, that's just another avoidance mechanism.

And actually "Ramblewood Underground" - it's not all the way there yet in terms of storytelling and story structure but in terms of being a passionate accurate story, it IS very much the sort of thing that I want to be writing, with characters who don't have chemical-weapons-testing jobs to quit like the guy in Carol Bly's story but who exist in the world as it is with all its problems, who can be engaged and compassionate people even if they can't solve those problems.

So that's my challenge to myself: to try to find my way toward stories that I care about, that are important to me, while lowering my standards a hell of a lot when it comes to them being politically and aesthetically perfect.

Texts and Genders Course

Aug. 20th, 2016 11:46 am
robin_anne_reid: (Treehouse)
[personal profile] robin_anne_reid
I've been very much consumed with other stuff during the past few years (including a tornado that took out a chunk of our roof in 2014--nobody hurt in the whole area which means we were incredibly lucky--and health problems). But I have a resolution this fall to start making more use of this academic journal, focusing specifically on one of my favorite (and often most frustrating) graduate courses: Texts and Genders.

Here is the basic information about the class:

Required Reading:

Sara Ahmed. Queer Phenomenology. Duke UP. ISBN-10: 0-8223-3914-5. ISBN-13:978-0-8223-3914-4
Sara Ahmed. Willful Subjects. Duke UP. ISBN-10: 0-8223-5783-6. ISBN-13: 978-0-8223-5783-4
Ann Leckie. Ancillary Justice. Little Brown & Co. ISBN-10: 0-316-24662-X. ISBN-13: 978-0-316-24662-0
Ann Leckie. Ancillary Sword. Little Brown & Co. ISBN-10: 0-316-24665-4. ISBN-13: 978-0-316-24665-1
Ann Leckie. Ancillary Mercy. Little Brown & Co. ISBN-10: 0-316-24668-9. ISBN-13: 978-0-316-24668-2

Reading Schedule:

Weeks 2-3-4: Queer Phenomenology
Weeks 5-6-7: Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword, Ancillary Mercy
Weeks 8-9: Willful Subjects
Weeks 10-11-12: Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword, Ancillary Mercy

Course Description

Graduate Catalog: Three semester hours. A critical examination of how gender differences influence reading and writing strategies of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and film, including issues of gender and style, gender and usage, and gender stereotyping. This course is recommended for doctoral students planning to teach and/or produce scholarship on the college level.

The catalog description is written with an intentionally broad focus to allow different faculty to teach with their own areas of specialization.

Here's my specific course description for this class:

Fall 2016 Focus: The focus this fall is on an intersectional and interdisciplinary approach to gender theory and how to apply theory to literary works. The class will be a focus on two monographs by Sara Ahmed and a science fiction trilogy by Ann Leckie in order to explore how the theory and narrative of Ahmed's work are in conversation with the narrative and theory of Leckie's work.


Online Discussions: Six @ 200 points. 1200 points. One introduction and five on Ahmed's books.

Writing Journal: Seven entries @ 200 points 1400 points. Exploratory entries on the ways in which Ahmed's work is in conversation with Leckie's.

Paper (12-15 pages): A queer and/or willful reading of Leckie's work. Three assignments: Plan (200 pts); First Draft (400 pts); Final Draft (1000 pts). 1600 total.

Educating About Plagiarism Unit: Extra Credit quizzes and summaries.

Here are some first thoughts as I work on finalizing the materials to upload to the course shell:

More and more I have come to realize that it's important for me as a teacher to explain not only what I want students to do, but why I am having them do it the way I am asking, especially since I do all sorts of new and weird (to them) stuff.

That means a real shift in pedagogical choices from even ten years ago. One thing I've been working on, especially driven by teaching primarily online (which I mostly do because I *like* it, I know I'm weird, I did say weird, right), is embedding process writing in my theory and literature courses. The classes cannot be as writing intensive as the creative writing and composition courses I teach, but I'm working to get a balance in by using more focused discussion questions, and more journal entries which can also involve self assessment of process and learning.

So, for your fun this rainy (in Texas) Saturday morning, some text I just wrote for my Leckie Paper assignment lecture. I'm trying to break my long assignment handups into a lecture plus a shorter assignment handout that refers students to the lecture for explanation and process information.

Part of the lecture will be explaining how they're working on their final paper from the first discussion. (I'm gathering that my approach is very different from many my students report having had in their journals, so I'm hoping this will help those who find it so different to understand the method in my weirdness).

First: "Good" final drafts (defined as meeting my assignment criteria which are based on my knowledge of and experience with academic writing and publishing) come from an extensive and recursive writing process that takes place over time.

Second: Graduate students who carry a heavy weight of coursework and teaching responsibilities in their professional lives may have difficulty starting the writing process early enough on their own time.

Third: Even an extensive writing process can fail to generate a final draft that meets the standards for final drafts if students are dealing with texts and approaches that are new to them.

Fourth: An online course which does not allow for the face/face extended discussions of the traditional seminar does allow for online discussions that can be more focused and comprehensive, allowing for responses and analysis to readings to take place in a group setting where ideas can be shared and reviewed at a later time.


Aug. 19th, 2016 10:00 am
grrlpup: (rose)
[personal profile] grrlpup

graffiti on wall: "sam-i-am"

Today’s commute graffiti: kidlit-relevant! Commute graffiti usually goes on Twitter, but it was cutting the photo off.

I’ve had swimming on the brain. On Wednesday, I swam across the Willamette River downtown, with Sanguinity and a few co-workers and about 250 other people. It was fun! (Link is to a short FaceBook video.) I took it slow, and have much work to do if I ever want to join the River Huggers’ regular morning swims across and back.

I’ve never been one to follow Olympic swimming much, but like the rest of the internet I’m loving Fu Yuanhui. The tizzy over her mentioning her period reminded me of In Lane Three, Alex Archer , a 1987 New Zealand YA novel about a young swimmer working her way towards the Rome (1960) Olympics. The “but can she swim with her period?!” bit is almost all I remember– and I’m pretty sure I didn’t read the whole series. Trip to the university library on my lunch break today.

This post also appears at read write run repeat. Comments read and welcomed in either place!

Reinterpreting the classics

Aug. 19th, 2016 10:37 am
[personal profile] yendi
What if what Bryan Adams is really singing in "Run to You" is:

But that'd change if she ever found out about "you and I"?

So his wife wouldn't care that he's having a relationship with someone else (in fact, might be aware of it and be supportive), but she's a stickler for grammar and tends towards prescriptivism, and is appalled at the notion of using a subject word like "I" as an object.

Makes total sense to me.

(no subject)

Aug. 18th, 2016 09:47 pm
owlectomy: A squashed panda sewing a squashed panda (Default)
[personal profile] owlectomy
So - I think that one of the most important things that art can do, and one of the things that gets into really thorny questions about representation and what is universal vs. what's merely presented as something universal, is this moment when you say "Oh, I thought that was just me. That isn't just me." And - I think these moments are maybe especially significant to me as a person who's introverted and socially anxious - like, it's really hard for me to get that feeling interacting with other human beings because anything I say has been run through so many "IS THIS WEIRD???" filters that -- if it's a thing where I worry I'm weird or alone in my thoughts, I just don't say it at all.

But I was at a party tonight, and it was that strange and great and horrible mix of pleasant conversation and roiling social anxiety, and I remembered the first time I heard that Stars lyric where Torq sings "But it doesn't make it easy / To leave the party at the right time," and I thought, OH MY GOD, there's someone else who understands that leaving the party at the right time is ridiculously difficult.

I think I managed it. If I hadn't bought lights for my bike, it would've been the wrong time.

Pain hits

Aug. 18th, 2016 06:48 pm
badgerbag: (Default)
[personal profile] badgerbag
Pain kicking in big time, ankles, knees mostly. I am definitely glad I stayed moving very gently in the pool and didn't get vigorous or go any longer than 30 min.

Anyway pain and I will lie still, do some cbd stuff, and put on ice packs.

I still feel invigorated on some level, and happy.
[personal profile] jazzyjj
Hey everybody. Back here I am with my next book review. This one was authored by Coach K himself and Jamie K. Spatola, who happens to be one of his daughters. This was actually a recording made by Hachette Audio, and then converted into digital format by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Coach K narrated it himself, and did a wonderful job. I was never that much into sports for obvious reasons, but that has started to change. Regardless of whether or not you are a Duke fan, I highly recommend this book. Coach K is very sincere in the book. He talks not only about teamwork on the basketball court, but he also emphasizes leadership skills.


Aug. 16th, 2016 07:42 pm
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
Starting tomorrow I'll be at MidAmericon II, and participating in several sessions. Perhaps I'll see you there!

[Linkspam] Monday, August 15

Aug. 15th, 2016 05:50 pm
tim: A bright orange fish. (fish)
[personal profile] tim
Clean Eating and Dirty Women, by Flavia Dzodan (2016-08-03). "...the marketing of 'clean eating' is an extension of historical associations of womanhood with dirt, fear of female sexuality and a desire to control it."

Worthless Intent, by Cate Huston (2016-06-23). "The thing about intentions is that they are the start of conflict resolution, but we often talk like they are the end of conflict resolution. This is completely wrong. Believing that someone means well might get you to the table to talk to them, but it does not get you to agree with them."

“A Honeypot For Assholes”: Inside Twitter’s 10-Year Failure To Stop Harassment, by Charlie Warzel for Buzzfeed (2016-08-11). "On Twitter, abuse is not just a bug, but — to use the Silicon Valley term of art — a fundamental feature."

A massive new study debunks a widespread theory for Donald Trump’s success, by Max Ehrenfreund and Jeff Guo for the Washington Post (2016-08-12). Suggests Trump's popularity is due to racism more than economic insecurity.

Detransition, Desistance, and Disinformation (a follow up), by Julia Serano (2016-08-11). Followup to Serano's essay on trans kids and "desistance" from last week.

[CW: pregnancy, childbirth, blood/gore] Monstrous Births, by Sarah Blackwood for The Hairpin (2016-08-10). "Fuck empowerment! Children are little death machines, they rip through your body. They chew on you. They are animals. We are animals, left bloody and with vulnerable bellies sliced after a good fight."

Fascinating Photos from the Secret Trash Collection in a New York Sanitation Garage, by Dylan Thuras (2016-03-17). Lovely pictures of well-organized things.

How MSG Got A Bad Rap: Flawed Science And Xenophobia, by Anna Maria Barry-Jester for FiveThirtyEight (2016-01-08). I share this every time it comes around. MSG sensitivity doesn't exist, yet even doctors believed it did for a long time because of racism.

Political fairy tales

Aug. 15th, 2016 08:25 pm

what to nominate for Yuletide?

Aug. 15th, 2016 05:52 pm
brainwane: My smiling face in front of a brick wall, May 2015. (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
I participated in Yuletide last year and really enjoyed it, so I'll probably participate again this year. Nominations: Friday 9 September to Friday 16 September. Thinking about what to nominate...

* I am about 3/4 of the way through Neal Stephenson's Seveneves -- I see one work about it on AO3 and I'll probably read that and more after I finish the novel.
* "As Good As New" by Charlie Jane Anders
* Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
* the miniseries Tanner '88

with more ideas to come, for sure.

You Will Know Me, by Megan Abbott

Aug. 15th, 2016 09:53 am
[personal profile] yendi
A few weeks ago, I commented on Facebook, I would not be upset in the slightest if Megan Abbott's "You Will Know Me" became the second book in a row to win both a Pulitzer and an Edgar. Easily the best book I've read this year (not counting Nabokov's "Pale Fire," which isn't eligible for either prize). And this continues to be a damned fine year for books.

You Will Know Me is on sale on the Kindle today for $2.99. You should get it if you don't already own it. I stand by that statement above. As a bonus, it's all about what teen gymnasts go through, so if you've been watching the Olympics, it's pretty relevant.
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