Linked List: June 2013

@ EuroPython 2013

I’m in Firenze this week to attend EuroPython 2013. I will be updating this site daily with thoughts and observations from a newbie rookie — this is my first experience in an extended conference (one week!), and my Python power is only ★ ✩ ✩ ✩ ✩.

The Criminal NSA

Article by Jennifer Stisa Granick, director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, and Christopher Jon Sprigman, professor at the University of Virginia School of Law.

It’s time to call the N.S.A.’s mass surveillance programs what they are: criminal.


Docker is an open-source project to easily create lightweight, portable, self-sufficient containers from any application. The same container that a developer builds and tests on a laptop can run at scale, in production, on VMs, bare metal, OpenStack clusters, public clouds and more.

I will be using Docker for my next web application.

Demonizing Edward Snowden
Spying Does Not Protect You
Jump Point Search Explained
B612 Foundation Defending Earth Against Asteroids
HTML & CSS Code Guide

Standards for developing flexible, durable, and sustainable HTML and CSS.

List of Front End Development Resources

Didn’t know about Terrific. Looks good.

This is a Web Page

Clear writing is good web design.

The Appendix of George Orwell’s “1984”

Laura Frost:

Consider the names of the post-9/11 programs that were ostensibly designed to protect the United States: the Patriot Act, Boundless Informant, and practices like “enhanced interrogation techniques.” The justifications of these 1984-sounding schemes—and PRISM too—follow the obfuscating principles of Newspeak and the kind of manipulative euphemism Orwell skewers in his famous essay, “Politics and the English Language.” He writes: “Political language—and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists—is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” Orwell maintains that misleading terminology and evasive explanations are endemic to modern politics. “In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible,” including practices like imprisoning people “for years without trial,“ Orwell writes.

Maybe Buses Should Be Free

Yes, they should.


Free, open-source Markdown editor based on PageDown, the Markdown library used by Stack Overflow and the other Stack Exchange sites.

The Security State Operates as a Ratchet

Maciej Ceglowski:

The point is, you don’t need human investigators to find leads, you can have the algorithms do it. They will find people of interest, assemble the watch lists, and flag whomever you like for further tracking. And since the number of actual terrorists is very, very, very small, the output of these algorithms will consist overwhelmingly of false positives.

The security state operates as a ratchet. Once you click in a new level of surveillance or intrusiveness, it becomes the new baseline. What was unthinkable yesterday becomes permissible in exceptional cases today, and routine tomorrow. The people who run the American security apparatus are in the overwhelming majority diligent people with a deep concern for civil liberties. But their job is to find creative ways to collect information. And they work within an institution that, because of its secrecy, is fundamentally inimical to democracy and to a free society.

The Snowden Principle

From the State’s point of view, he’s committed a crime. From his point of view, and the view of many others, he has sacrificed for the greater good because he knows people have the right to know what the government is doing in their name. And legal, or not, he saw what the government was doing as a crime against the people and our rights.

The NSA’s Prism Why We Should Care
Microsoft Said To Give Zero Day Exploits To US Government Before It Patches Them
Steve Wozniak on PRISM

Starts at 00:50.

Don’t Track Us

Use Duck Duck Go.

Project Loon

Google at its best.

Prism Break

Opt out of PRISM, the NSA’s global data surveillance program. Stop reporting your online activities to the American government with these free alternatives to proprietary software.

Make DuckDuck Go Chrome Default Search Engine
Feudal Security
Eight Months at Microsoft

Sounds great!

CloudFlare, PRISM, and Securing SSL Ciphers

As we’ve followed the PRISM story, we’ve tried to reconcile how the PRISM slides could be accurate while so many tech executives have denied participation in the program. One theory that surfaced was

A Matter of Principle

He described how he once viewed the internet as “the most important invention in all of human history”. As an adolescent, he spent days at a time “speaking to people with all sorts of views that I would never have encountered on my own”.

But he believed that the value of the internet, along with basic privacy, is being rapidly destroyed by ubiquitous surveillance. “I don’t see myself as a hero,” he said, “because what I’m doing is self-interested: I don’t want to live in a world where there’s no privacy and therefore no room for intellectual exploration and creativity.”

Conscientious Objector Edward Snowden

I have no intention of hiding who I am because I know I have done nothing wrong.

Flask NSA

Send your users the following lie factual statement:

Dear X users,

You may be aware of reports alleging that X and several other Internet companies have joined a secret U.S. government program called PRISM to give the National Security Agency direct access to our servers. We would like to respond to the press reports, and give you the facts.

X is not and has never been part of any program to give the US or any other government direct access to our servers. We have never received a blanket request or court order from any government agency asking for information or metadata in bulk, like the one Verizon reportedly received. We hadn’t even heard of PRISM before yesterday.

When governments ask X for data, we review each request carefully to make sure they always follow the correct processes and all applicable laws, and then only provide the information if is required by law. We will continue fighting aggressively to keep your information safe and secure. Any suggestion that X is disclosing information about our users’ Internet activity on such a scale is completely false.

We strongly encourage all governments to be much more transparent about all programs aimed at keeping the public safe. It’s the only way to protect everyone’s civil liberties and create the safe and free society we all want over the long term. We here at X understand that the U.S. and other governments need to take action to protect their citizens’ safety—including sometimes by using surveillance. But the level of secrecy around the current legal procedures undermines the freedoms we all cherish. Couldn’t be easier.

Tor and HTTPS
Geo Bootstrap Theme



Based on HTML5 WebRTC DataChannels. No cloud storage involved, only pure, direct P2P. Simple, Fast, Anonymous.

The Power of Names

Firefox add-on to copy, sort, chart or filter an HTML table on any webpage that’s helping me with some more endless Drupal clicking at work.

Ladda - Merge Loading Indicators Into the Action that Invoked Them
Setting Up Django to Use External Authentication

Lynn Root rocks.

New Coder

Five life jackets to throw to the new coder.

Personal Clouds
Identity is Personal
On Changing the World

Cennydd Bowles:

The black box model — a device or product that hides its mechanics and complexity — can be useful for designing appealing, marketable products. However, it can also act against users’ interests.

For ethical values to thrive in our field, we can’t let the pace of change seduce us into thinking we’ve no time for them. Designers and engineers alike need to think deeply about the implications of the things we make, and appreciate the value of doing so. We also need role models. I long for our industry to stop fetishizing entrepreneurs and billion-dollar buyouts, and instead to praise technologists who inform the public about new technology, or companies that make tough decisions for the greater good.

Dunbar’s Number

Dunbar’s number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships.

The secret of keeping a good online community: don’t let a person’s contacts exceed the network’s dunbar number.