Category Archives: News

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To Help Students, Colleges Are Dropping Remedial Courses. Will That Backfire?

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education | News

Article note: I increasingly view leading on people who aren't ready as _cruel_ and bordering on theft. The absurd cost of college makes dithering in college a life-fucking proposition for many, and having students who (for example I have to deal with) don't understand _variables_ in sophomore-level math based courses is a demoralizing waste of time for all involved. I sometimes get unpublished numbers through the grapevine, the 5-year success rates for students admitted to UK's college of engineering who aren't calculus-ready is so low as to be essentially inevitable failure. Empirically, many of our most successful students are the ones who had the wherewithal to pre-position themselves at a community college at a tiny fraction of the cost. We want more of the latter and fewer of the former. Build a robust system to get them into programs that position them to succeed. Find ways to make those programs cheaper, more accessible, and more cleanly connected to college paths. I'm not sure that one of my colleague's "Offer deficient students admittance contingent on attending and successfully completing a remedial summer program" could be made to work here in reality, but it's still more promising than leading them on for a very expensive year then torturing them until they drop out. Universities are disincentivized to do the right thing here because then they don't get to cash in on the crash-and-burn process of hopeless cases filling seats in their giant service courses.

As colleges enroll more underprepared students, they’re increasingly eliminating remedial courses. Critics say it’s unrealistic to expect nearly every student to succeed right off the bat — even with extra academic support.

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Warning: debian stable kernel upgrade breaks most ARM SBC

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Shit. There are a lot of unattended-updating, Debian/ARM appliances in the world, and this can brick them. It sounds like, ironically, there might be a regression in their not-breaking-ABI patchset, which is why less-stability-focused distros didn't get hit.
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AAAS: Machine learning ‘causing science crisis’

Source: Hacker News

Article note: "Causing" is an inappropriately strong word, but I'll certainly go along with exacerbating. Q: What's the difference between the majority of ML techniques and p-Hacking techniques? A: Whether you know you're full of shit, or have successfully hidden it even from yourself.
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Senate passes bill to allow wine shipments into the state

Source: Kentucky.com -- State

Article note: Yes please! I'd love to be able to buy cheap+amusing internet wine.

A bill that would allow direct out-of-state shipments of wine to Kentucky consumers has won overwhelming approval in the state Senate. Senators voted 29-5 on Friday to pass the bill, … Click to Continue »

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Don’t Get Clever with Login Forms

Source: Hacker News

Article note: If I can't hit auto-type in my password manager and be logged in with no further action on my part, I already hate you.
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A new book argues that violence laid the foundation for virtue

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Interesting. I'm used to the individual/institutional violence distinction, but tying it to reactive/proactive and self-domestication is an interesting extension. This is a very Nietzschean argument.
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Was that huge 2017 Equifax data breach part of a nation-state spy scheme?

Source: Boing Boing

Article note: Shit. That makes a lot of sense, you can scan a pool like that to identify potential US assets in your business, and potential exploitable assets for your use in the US. Also, I'm impressed with CNBC's honest, practical, and non-sensational coverage of "dark web" and other usually-stupid-in-the-media subjects that come up there.

That massive Equifax data breach on September 7, 2017, shocked everyone, but a year and a half later, where the data of all those 143 million Equifax users ended up is still a mystery.

CNBC reports that the current prevailing theory is that “the data was stolen by a nation-state for spying purposes, not by criminals looking to cash in on stolen identities.”

Excerpt:

CNBC talked to eight experts, including data "hunters" who scour the dark web for stolen information, senior cybersecurity managers, top executives at financial institutions, senior intelligence officials who played a part in the investigation and consultants who helped support it. All of them agreed that a breach happened, and personal information from 143 million people was stolen.

But none of them knows where the data is now. It's never appeared on any hundreds of underground websites selling stolen information. Security experts haven't seen the data used in any of the ways they'd expect in a theft like this — not for impersonating victims, not for accessing other websites, nothing.

But as the investigations continue, a consensus is starting to emerge to explain why the data has disappeared from sight. Most experts familiar with the case now believe that the thieves were working for a foreign government and are using the information not for financial gain, but to try to identify and recruit spies.

Good, gritty detail on the methodology behind the theory.

Read more: The great Equifax mystery: 17 months later, the stolen data has never been found, and experts are starting to suspect a spy scheme Read the rest

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ROBOTS are NOT going to steal your job | Ram Air Intake – YouTube

Source: Published articles

This is a lovely example of how hard it is to actually do things, even given a "valid" design.

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The memory safety problem isn’t bad coders

Source: Hacker News

Article note: I know reading HN comments is brain poison, but starred for the (repost from David van Geest's twitter https://twitter.com/DWvanGeest/status/1092095822559358976) comment: In general, in favor of as many correctness and other checks at compile time as possible. Make tools as powerful as possible. I really liked this tweet: "What if... - your programming language required you to write useful docs, - using those docs, it checked your program for mistakes, - it even used the docs to speed up your program, - this feature already exists! And what if it was called static typing."
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Intel SGX ‘safe’ room easily trashed by white-hat hacking marauders: Enclave malware demo’d

Source: The Register

Article note: You can't complex your way to security. More moving parts means more interactions means harder to secure.

Handy for smuggling expensive zero-days onto targets and executing them, without antivirus realizing

Updated  Security researchers have found that Intel's Software Guard Extensions (SGX) don't live up to their name. In fact, we're told, they can be used to hide pieces of malware that silently masquerade as normal applications.…

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