Linked List: May 2014

Glacierworks Everest

GlacierWorks’ mission is to document, educate and raise awareness about changes to the glaciers in the Greater Himalaya through art, science and exploration. We seek to incite curiosity about the region and spark dialogues regarding the changes to these glaciers.

PirateBox DIY Anonymous Offline Mobile File-Sharing and Communications System

Built with free software and inexpensive off-the-shelf hardware, you can use a PirateBox to transform any space into a free and open offline communications and file sharing network.

Moon Make a Drawing to Reach Out and Be Touched

The instant a touch is made, things are set in motion. Make a drawing to reach out and be touched.

Help La Forge Help Kids Read

Great Kickstarter by LeVar Burton aka Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation. There are some wonderful comments in the Hacker News thread about the value of reading to kids.

And everyone who uses the internet should read this.

The Internet With A Human Face

Maciej Cegłowski on the advertising-industrial-government complex that constitutes the increasingly more centralized internet:

The offline world works like it always has. I saw many of you talking yesterday between sessions; I bet none of you has a verbatim transcript of those conversations. If you do, then I bet the people you were talking to would find that extremely creepy.

I saw people taking pictures, but there’s a nice set of gestures and conventions in place for that. You lift your camera or phone when you want to record, and people around you can see that. All in all, it works pretty smoothly.

The online world is very different. Online, everything is recorded by default, and you may not know where or by whom. If you’ve ever wondered why Facebook is such a joyless place, even though we’ve theoretically surrounded ourselves with friends and loved ones, it’s because of this need to constantly be wearing our public face. Facebook is about as much fun as a zoning board hearing.

The presentation also helpfully contains lovely pictures of lovely animals.

Integration Testing With Django and Lettuce

Looking forward to trying Gherkin and Lettuce in an upcoming project.

Photography is Easy, Photography is Difficult

And hopefully I will carry on, and develop it, because it is worthwhile.

The Flipped Classroom
Classic Webster’s Dictionary in Your Mac

Finding definitions now more fun.

Introduction to Linux Course on edX

Begins August 1st 2014. Though I know Linux basics, particularly the command line, I’ve registered and am looking forward to this to get a better overview of the entire system, including the available GUIs.

Underwear Deploy Python Web Applications Easily

I still think the main barrier to widespread adoption of Python for web development is deployment. Can Underwear help?

Despite the advent of configuration management tools such as Puppet, Chef, Ansible, and Salt, it remains difficult to deploy a web application because you have to first learn one of those tools and then write scripts in the tool’s domain-specific language.

Underwear makes deploying to a traditional Linux server stack as easy as deploying to Heroku by providing a pre-packaged, easily configurable library. Deployments can be executed simply by installing Underwear with pip, specifying the IP addresses of the server(s) to deploy to, then running a couple of commands.

Great name, too!

Full Stack Python

Open book that explains each Python web application stack layer and provides the best web resources for those topics.

How Radar Works at Arecibo Observatory

Fascinating post by Alessondra Springmann.

Imaginary Property

Richard Stallman:

It has become fashionable to toss copyright, patents, and trademarks—three separate and different entities involving three separate and different sets of laws—plus a dozen other laws into one pot and call it “intellectual property”. The distorting and confusing term did not become common by accident. Companies that gain from the confusion promoted it. The clearest way out of the confusion is to reject the term entirely.

Has Eric Replied Yet?

Samuel L. Jackson to Eric Schmidt:

Hey Eric, enough is enough, I’ve had it with your mother fucking nose in my mother fucking email!

No reply yet.

Planetary Collective Continuum

The planet is in crisis. The root of the environmental and social crises facing humanity is the misperception that we are separate – from each other, the planet, and the cosmos as a whole. The solution to this crisis can be found in an emerging worldview that points to our interdependence.

CSS Box Sizing

CSS trick I learned during a job interview. Here is a good example.

Goodhart’s Law

When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

See also: The Importance of Goodhart’s Law and Guessing the Teacher’s Password.

Free Software Foundation Condemns Mozilla Adobe DRM Partnership

What the hell is happening at Mozilla?

Stop The Slow Lane

A slow lane on the Internet isn’t acceptable.

Pervasive Monitoring Is an Attack

Tim Bray on the Internet Engineering Task Force’s RFC 7258/BCP 188:

…we don’t want an In­ter­net op­ti­mized for pris­on­s.

Bray Family Reading in a Tent on a Commune in Sunny Valley, Oregon

Timeless photograph by John Olson which ran in 18 July 1969 issue of Life Magazine.


But the women I met there are not Mexican. They’re not even from Latin America. They are asylum seekers from Ethiopia.

Their stories start with a brutal reality: If you don’t have a U.S. visa, you can’t just board a plane to New York City. You need to find another route.

Country after country let her through. Then, finally, she walked across a bridge into Brownsville, Texas.

Her youngest sister did not make that walk — she drowned taking a different route to the U.S.

Her husband did make it, but he is still being detained by immigration authorities, as asylum seekers often are.

Bolsa Família A Decentralized Social Policy

CCTs (Conditional Cash Transfer —Ed) (like Brazil’s Bolsa Familia and Mexico’s Progresa/Oportunidades) aim at helping individuals who fall under a certain income threshold by giving them cash.

This cash allows them to act as consumers at the marketplace. The largest advantage of such a scheme is that it reduces politicians’ and bureaucrats’ discretion to make decisions for the people and lets the people make the decisions themselves. (Emphasis added —Ed)

At the end of the day, by opting for a market-oriented social policy we are making a statement. We are saying we trust the poor. We are saying that decisions about their lives should be taken at their homes – not at a restaurant table while a politician and a lobbyist negotiate over government contracts and the next election.

Tim Bray Reviews Thomas Piketty’s Cap­i­tal in the Twenty-First Cen­tu­ry

And the last sen­tence in the book:

“Yet it seems to me that all so­cial sci­en­tist­s, all jour­nal­ists and com­men­ta­tors, all ac­tivists in the unions and in pol­i­tics of what­ev­er stripe, and es­pe­cial­ly all cit­i­zens should take a se­ri­ous in­ter­est in mon­ey, its mea­sure­men­t, the facts sur­round­ing it, and its his­to­ry. Those who have a lot of it nev­er fail to de­fend their in­ter­est­s. Re­fus­ing to deal with num­bers rarely serves the in­ter­ests of the least well-off.”

Tired of Fighting Word or LaTex?

Notex is an impressive open source text editor. Here’s an overview.

International Space Apps Challenge

Found while browsing NASA’s GitHub repositories:

The International Space Apps Challenge is an international mass collaboration focused on space exploration that takes place over 48-hours in cities around the world. The event embraces collaborative problem solving with a goal of producing relevant open-source solutions to address global needs applicable to both life on Earth and life in space.

Here are the 2013 hackathon results.

Nina Simone Live at Montreaux

Found while searching for Nina’s song for my available-for-hire post at Hacker News.