Mar. 11th, 2014 | 07:11 pm
posted by: johnsu01
Mar. 11th, 2014 | 10:30 pm
posted by: louisproyect
This blog is not Hyde Park. It is my living room.
It is set up to hold all comments made by first-timers in the moderation queue until I release them. I don’t mind people comparing me to Christopher Hitchens but if this is your first comment here, it will probably be deleted if you, like some moron whose first-time comment is being held, use a bogus email address. By that I mean an address that does not show up on a Google search. It is one thing to be a troll, it is another to be an anonymous troll.
I have been an asshole on other people’s blogs over the years (not so much lately–getting mellow in my old age) but you always knew it was me rather than a sock puppet. If you want to bait me, then your best shot is if you’ve used a legitimate email address with a cyber-trail even if it is associated with a bogus name. Who gives a shit, really? All I can say is that your chances of sticking around are enhanced if you have something intelligent to say about films, music, 20th century history, etc. If your whole purpose here is to play Lenin to my Kautsky, I’ll kick you the fuck out faster than you can say Jack Robinson.
Mar. 11th, 2014 | 08:39 pm
posted by: louisproyect
Rated SR is the clever short name for the Socially Relevant Film Festival that will be held at the Quad Cinema in New York between March 14 and March 20. To my knowledge this is the first time such a festival has been held and based on the evidence of the six films I’ve seen, it would be very good if it became a permanent feature of New York’s rich cultural and political tapestry.
It might be obvious from my Counterpunch review of “From both sides of the Aegean” that the subject of ethnic cleansing in Turkey is very close to my heart. Despite my love of Turkish culture, I feel an even deeper connection to the people who have resisted forced assimilation.
That in essence is the subject of Hamshen Community at the Crossroads of Past and Present, a documentary directed by Lucine Sahakyan that takes us into the remote hinterlands near the Black Sea to meet Armenians who were Muslimicized and Turkified in the 16th century long before the genocide and expulsions of the 20th century. Since Turkey has historically regarded them as countrymen, they have managed to avoid the brutal treatment meted out to Christian Armenians and Kurds even though they speak an Armenian dialect that is on the decline. Even if the language disappears, it is doubtful that their traditions will as well since Hamshen identity is as powerful today as it was a half-millennium ago based on the evidence.
The film has a charmingly old-fashioned quality as the director narrates throughout the film in Armenian about all the good-hearted and lovely people she meets in a virtual travelogue. In some ways, the film transported me back to 1958 when feature films were often preceded by a 15-minute “short subject” with a title like “Along the Silk Road” or “Welcome to Wine Country”.
Although they number less than a million, the Hamshen are used to fighting above their weight. The film mentions that despite their Muslim affiliations, atheism and Marxism have also gained wide acceptance—explained perhaps by their proximity to the USSR in its infancy. Today you can see pictures of Che Guevara carried at their protest marches.
Although the film does not have a trailer, this performance by Hamshen musicians above should give you a good idea of the pleasures found in a documentary that includes lots of folk music and dance from this altogether appealing nationality. If Turkey ever found itself, it would do everything it could to preserve Hamshen ethnic identity along with that of the Kurds. That would be as much a contribution to their civilization as the Topkapi palace.
In Offside Trap, factory worker and HR manager fall in love despite class differences
Offside Trap is a German narrative film obviously very much influenced by Lauren Cantet’s 1999 Human Resources that pits a yuppie son who works in HR against his dad who is an assembly-line worker in a plant that is facing cuts. The son has been told by the bosses to come up with a downsizing plan whose first victim will be his dad.
In Offside Trap the HR employee put in charge of slashing jobs in the German branch of a multinational that makes washing machines does not like the idea of eliminating people who have worked there for decades but her professional pride makes it somewhat easier. But when she meets and becomes infatuated with an assembly-line worker who is determined to fight the cuts, the same kind of tension shapes the plot. Oddly enough, it evokes the 1957 Desk Set that starred Spencer Tracy as a computer expert whose plans to replace workers with machines outrages long-time employee Katherine Hepburn. Like Desk Set, Offside Trap verges on romantic comedy rather than the grimness of Human Resources. The title of the film refers to the company soccer team that is made up of men who are trying to build solidarity with workers in other factories owned by their bosses who operate out of the USA.
It is very topical, dealing with the blackmail that workers face nowadays in places such as Boeing and Volkswagen. Take cuts or else we shut you down—that’s the boss’s ultimatum. It is not surprising that a film tackling this conflict comes from Germany rather than the USA.
Coal Rush is a documentary that reminds us that corrupt and greedy energy producers can poison and kill us by dumping their waste products into water supplies other than through fracking. This is a story about Massey Energy using spent coalmines as a reservoir for slurry, the byproduct of treating coal with water and chemicals just before it is loaded into railroad cars that seeps out into the surrounding countryside.
People living in economically devastated Mingo County are enduring a virtual epidemic of cancer, serious skin diseases and organ damage from water that comes from their wells, often colored brown, foul-smelling, and impossible to drink.
The film is focused on a class-action lawsuit against Massey and interviews with the people who have suffered because of this giant corporation’s criminal behavior. It is galling to see their TV commercials throughout the documentary that—like BP’s—blather on about their commitment to Green values. The CEO of Massey is one of the nation’s biggest scumbags who would not even use water from a well on his own property because it was fouled by his slurry. Massey’s defense was that well water has never been safe to drink. In a just world, CEO Don Blankship would be put in prison for life and forced to drink the water from wells in Mingo County.
Penetrating through the policy debates about immigration heard on FOX, CNN or MSNBC, Stable Life introduces us to an undocumented Mexican husband and wife originally from the ravaged state of Puebla who work as grooms in a California race track stable and their three children. Although they are impoverished by American standards and are crowded into two rooms, they feel blessed to be on their own and doing work that gives them pleasure. The oldest son has begun racing horses and the two younger kids treat the stables like a playground while the two remaining children remain in Mexico until they can put together the funds to bring them into the USA “illegally”.
Throughout the film, La Migra remains a constant threat even though no American would dream of living in their conditions and working for such low pay. Despite the hardships, the family enjoys simple everyday pleasures like barbecues and birthday parties. The one person who should watch this film is the current occupant of the White House who has deported record numbers of “illegals”. Come to think of it, he should watch it from a cell next to Don Blankenship’s.
Ira McKinley is a well-known African-American video activist in Albany who is the subject of The Throwaways, a title that refers to how capitalist America treats people like him and those whose cause he takes up through his citizenship journalism. In many ways he is the counterpart of the people in Syria who have used Youtube to document Baathist brutality. For McKinley, it is the racist killer cops of Albany who need to be exposed.
When McKinley got out of prison in 2002 after serving 3 years for a drug violation, he found obstacles in his path everywhere to getting a job and becoming a normal functioning member of society. Determined not to go back to prison, he has cobbled together a decent existence even if a marginal one. His real ambition, however, is not to get rich but to serve as a “tribune of the people” as Lenin puts it in “What is to be Done”. He is a ubiquitous figure in Albany’s Black community using his camera to document police misbehavior.
This article from Albany’s Times-Union newspaper should give you a flavor for the kind of filmmaking made possible by digital cameras by the courage of men and women who understand the power of film to communicate themes of social relevance:
Ira McKinley, all 6 feet 4 and 270 pounds, lumbered across the hushed, carpeted vastness of the seventh floor of the State Library in baggy jean shorts, oversized T-shirt, unlaced white sneakers and L.A. Dodgers baseball cap flipped backward.
He moved past the reference desk and dropped into an upholstered swivel office chair at a cubicle in front of a computer terminal. He leaned back, charged a cellphone and started answering emails, just like he owned the place.
The State Library serves as a de facto office for the 49-year-old Air Force veteran, community activist, filmmaker, ex-convict and homeless man. He is a producer and creative force behind the documentary film “The Throwaways,” a narrative that traces McKinley’s troubled past and the larger struggle for economic and social justice in the city’s impoverished South End and beyond.
It’s an angry rant captured with handheld cameras, panning shots of abandoned buildings, closeups of clenched fists at local protests and interviews with frustrated inner-city residents and a hip-hop soundtrack. McKinley is well-read and articulate, his politics a mash-up of Malcolm X, Cornel West and Angela Davis.
“Ira got impatient with the traditional route for social change and decided to get vocal and to push back,” said Bhawin Suchak, the film’s co-director, producer, cinematographer and editor. “I hope people will be inspired by Ira’s story. He faced a lot of tough things and overcame them.”
Filmed with $10,000 raised through Kickstarter, a rough cut of “The Throwaways” was screened locally last winter. McKinley is trying to schedule showings around the state this fall in a bid to raise an additional $45,000 for post-production in the hope of landing a distributor.
“It’s a challenge,” he said, “but I don’t give up easily.”
To be quite candid, Forward 13: Waking Up The American Dream breaks no new ground in its jeremiad against America’s rich, prompted in large part by the director’s personal calamity in 2008 when both his business and home were lost like so many millions of other Americans. Since he was a producer by profession, he was in a better position to oversee the making of the film and lining up a financier—one Adam Bronfman who is the son of Edgar Bronfman Sr., the whiskey empire magnate and former President of the World Jewish Congress. The son has Huffington Post, Salon.com, the Nation Magazine type politics as opposed to his right-leaning father.
Pat Lovell, the director of the film, shares those politics so you can expect an hour-and-half of the sort of thing you can hear on MSNBC most days, with the Koch Brothers pilloried and laments about the erosion of American democracy. With the constant presence of Obama operative Van Jones throughout the film, you have no trouble figuring out the film’s viewpoint.
Despite all this, I found it fascinating—more from Pat Lovell’s personal experiences than his political analysis. He grew up in an oil family from Houston and enjoyed all the benefits of wealth and security. When the 2008 recession smacked him in the face like so many other Americans, he was determined to get to the bottom of things. He is still not there but hopefully his experiences will help to take the next step in consciousness, which is to make the leap into seeing that is the capitalist system rather than greedy individuals that threatens the planet.
Mar. 11th, 2014 | 07:05 pm
posted by: bruce_schneier
Today's item -- and this is the final item -- from the NSA's Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog:
(TS//SI//REL TO USA,FVEY) RF retro-reflector that provides an enhanced radar cross-section for VAGRANT collection. It's concealed in a standard computer video graphics array (VGA) cable between the video card and the video monitor. It's typically installed in the ferrite on the video cable.
(TS//SI//REL TO USA,FVEY) RAGEMASTER provides a target for RF flooding and allows for easier collection of the VAGRANT video signal. The current RAGEMASTER unit taps the red video line on the VGA cable. It was found that, empirically, this provides the best video return and cleanest readout of the monitor contents.
(U) Concept of Operation
(TS//SI//REL TO USA,FVEY) The RAGEMASTER taps the red video line between the video card within the desktop unit and the computer monitor, typically an LCD. When the RAGEMASTER is illuminated by a radar unit, the illuminating signal is modulated with the red video information. This information is re-radiated, where it is picked up at the radar, demodulated, and passed onto the processing unit, such as a LFS-2 and an external monitor, NIGHTWATCH, GOTHAM, or (in the future) VIEWPLATE. The processor recreates the horizontal and vertical sync of the targeted monitor, thus allowing TAO personnel to see what is displayed on the targeted monitor.
Unit Cost: $30
Status: Operational. Manufactured on an as-needed basis. Contact POC for availability information.
In the comments, feel free to discuss how the exploit works, how we might detect it, how it has probably been improved since the catalog entry in 2008, and so on.
Mar. 11th, 2014 | 07:03 pm
posted by: ultrasaurus_fee
Val: My name is Valerie Liberty and I work for a small bootstrapped startup called Balsamiq Studios.
Sarah: I don’t know if you can call Balsamiq small anymore. It is a bootstrapped startup that has emerged to become a force in the user experience world.
Val: We’re so proud.
Sarah: Tell me about the experience of submitting your first talk proposal.
Val: Oh, it was so much fun. There’s a conference coming up here in San Francisco. It’s called Office Optional. It’s for people who work with or without a hard-walled office. As Balsamiq Studios is a distributed company with only one office in Europe, the rest of our employees are all distributed. I got a heads-up about this conference, and after taking a class at Stanford about neuroplasticity and happiness I was motivated to answer this call for talks. My pitch was meant to be a two to three-minute video that took about 10 hours to prepare.
Sarah: Wow. 10 hours… why so long? or maybe I should ask: why so short?
Val: Yeah, it was long because I had never given a talk before, so really, that was a lot of preparation for what the content would be, and working out the technology of videotaping me, what was I going to wear in the video. I probably made 20 two-minute videos trying to hone my message, but I’m really excited about it.
Sarah: Why give a talk?
Val: Yeah, for a bunch of reasons, one, because I’m really excited about what I’ve learned, and really want to share it with other people in my situation who, I think, are first of all growing in numbers. There are people who are just becoming work from home or work-remote employees. I’ve been doing it for six years, and that’s long enough for me to see some cycles. Second of all, because one of the things that I’m dealing with is loneliness and connections with other people while working remotely and only having an online presence with people. To go to a conference, and actually press the flesh with other remote people will be, I hope, super-beneficial and refill my emotional tanks for a few weeks.
Sarah: Excellent. That’s kind of meta.)
Val: Yeah. I’m really excited about this new Skype feature, where you can record a call so do let me know how it turns out.
Note Upcoming Course: Positive Psychology and the Keys to Sustainable Practice: Happiness at Work: Using Science-Based Practices to Increase Success and Fulfillment (starts May 13, 2014)
Mar. 11th, 2014 | 05:10 pm
posted by: fsfblogs
teeth, and they need you to let them know.
Describing my personal knowledge management routines with Harold Jarche’s Seek-Sense-Share framework
Mar. 11th, 2014 | 12:00 pm
posted by: sachachuawiki
I spend much of my time learning, making sense of things, and sharing what I’ve learned. I like connecting with other people who think about how they do this. I chatted with Harold Jarche about how he manages his 10-year blog archive. We thought it might be good to describe our knowledge management processes in more detail. Here are more details on mine!
One of the things I’m working on as part of this 5-year experiment is to be more proactive about learning. It’s easy to fall into relying on client requests or a serendipitous stream of updates to teach me interesting things. It takes more work to observe what’s going on and come up with my own questions, ideas, and experiments. I think learning how to do that will be more interesting.
I used to get most of my information through reading. I love being able to slurp a book and take advantage of someone else’s experience. I turn to the Web for more current or on-the-ground information. I read social network updates and blog posts to find out about things I didn’t even think of searching for.
I’m learning more about asking people. There’s a lot written down, but there’s also a lot of knowledge still stuck in people’s heads. Asking helps me pull that out into a form other people can learn from.
Trying things myself helps me test knowledge to see if it makes sense to my life. I learn how to adapt things, too, and I might even come up with my own ideas along the way.
Sometimes I get interesting questions through e-mail, comments, or other requests. Those are worth exploring too, since explaining helps me understand something better. I fill in gaps in my understanding, too.
Many of my blog posts are reflective. I think out loud because that helps me test whether I make sense. Sometimes other people help me learn or think my way through complex topics. A public archive is helpful, too. I can search my thoughts, and I’m relatively confident that things will continue to be around.
The main challenge I’m working on is getting better at “chunking” ideas so that I can think bigger thoughts. I’m comfortable writing my way through small questions: one question, one blog post. As I accumulate these posts, I can build more complex thoughts by linking to previous ones.
Sketches help me chunk ideas. Like blog posts, each sketch addresses one idea. I can combine many sketches into one blog post, and then use a sketch to map out the relationships between ideas.
I’m learning how to organize my posts into series. A better writer would plan ahead. Me, I usually work backwards instead, organizing existing posts and tweaking them to flow better. When I get the hang of series, I’ll be able to start thinking in chunks of short books.
I have a regular review process. I do weekly reviews of my blog posts, sketches, reading, and time. I do monthly reviews and yearly reviews, rolling the summaries upward.
I’ve written some scripts to simplify this process. For example, I read blog posts with the Feedly reader. If This Then That imports my Feedly saved items into Evernote. I have an Emacs Lisp function that reads Evernote exports and formats them for my blog, and then I annotate that list with my thoughts.
Even with this review process, I can’t remember everything I have in my archive. Fortunately, I’m a geek. I like building and tweaking tools. I’ve written about the different things I do to make it easier to go through my archive. I can find things faster thanks to little things like having a browser search keyword for my blog. Recommendations for similar posts help me find connections that I might not have thought about myself.
One of the unusual things I’ve been experimenting with is delegation to a team of virtual assistants. I ask people to research information, summarize what they find, and draft posts. I can find things faster myself, and I can write pretty quickly. Still, it’s a useful way to learn about things from other people’s perspectives, and I hope it pays off.
My website is the base for all my sharing. Having seen so many services come and go, I don’t trust anything I can’t back up and control. I keep most things in a self-hosted WordPress blog. I also use Google Drive for easy, granular sharing (such as my delegation process folder), and Dropbox for other features.
Google Hangout on Air is great for recording podcasts and video conversations. The broadcast is available as a live stream, and it’s automatically recorded too. I’ve been moving more of my conversations to Hangouts on Air so that other people can learn from them.
I don’t want to clutter my main Twitter account with automated posts. I use @sachac_blog for blog post announcements. On occasion, I’ll post links or sneak previews with my main Twitter account, @sachac.
I’m also experimenting with paper books using CreateSpace. I’m looking forward to releasing some sketchnote collections through that.
How about you? How do you work with what you know?
Check out Harold Jarche’s post, too: What is your PKM routine?. Want to watch our conversation about large blog archives? See Youtube video below.
Mar. 11th, 2014 | 11:28 am
posted by: bruce_schneier
Providing random numbers on computers can be very difficult. Back in 2003, Neils Ferguson and I designed Fortuna as a secure PRNG. Particularly important is how it collects entropy from various processes on the computer and mixes them all together.
While Fortuna is widely used, there hadn't been any real analysis of the system. This has now changed. A new paper by Yevgeniy Dodis, Adi Shamir, Noah Stephens-Davidowitz, and Daniel Wichs provides some theoretical modeling for entropy collection and PRNG. They analyze Fortuna and find it good but not optimal, and then provide their own optimal system.
Excellent, and long-needed, research.
Mar. 11th, 2014 | 10:12 pm
posted by: kensanata_rss
Congratulations! I’m happy to know the two of you.
– Harald 2014-03-11 00:35 UTC
Helmut Schröder Jetzt kenne ich den Anlass für das Dankeschön. Dann gratuliere ich gleich nochmals. Das habt ihr sehr gut gemacht. Nur weiter so.
– Helmut Schröder 2014-03-11 18:51 UTC
– AlexSchroeder 2014-03-11 22:12 UTC
Mar. 10th, 2014 | 08:59 pm
posted by: kensanata_rss
Twenty two years ago, Claudia and I started dating. It has been the most wonderful thing to happen to me in all my life. I’ve become a better person, a happier person, a more responsible person, a more caring person, … the changes are innumerable. In fact, it’s probably impossible to say which of these positive changes have come about due to our relationship and which of these changes would have happened anyway, simply because of growing older and hopefully somewhat wiser. And yet, the great joy is having shared it all, having grown up together, adapting to each other, learning from each other, and now this stranger has become part of my life, and more. We are to each others like extensions of our body. Two hearts, as one.