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Shared Circles including Lea Kissner

Shared Circles are not available on Google+ anymore, but you can find them still here.

Activity

Average numbers for the latest posts (max. 50 posts, posted within the last 4 weeks)

4
comments per post
2
reshares per post
13
+1's per post

1,078
characters per posting

Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 26

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2015-05-13 20:14:26 (26 comments, 2 reshares, 102 +1s)Open 

My new Privacy jacket is aptly named.

Most reshares: 13

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2015-05-10 02:54:12 (22 comments, 13 reshares, 32 +1s)Open 

Crypto: don't roll your own. This protocol is hilariously broken. The only thing left is to develop an algorithm that only requires pencil and paper.

Most plusones: 102

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2015-05-13 20:14:26 (26 comments, 2 reshares, 102 +1s)Open 

My new Privacy jacket is aptly named.

Latest 50 posts

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2015-07-27 23:04:33 (8 comments, 2 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

Spoiler: they foiled the ransomware. Secondary spoiler: your crypto is only as good as its keys and the management thereof. Foiling ransomware makes the schadenfreude extra satisfying.

In early 2013, an organization approached us for help recovering their data after their server was infected with a version of the ACCDFISA ransomware. The malware had combed through every file on every drive and encrypted all the important files. Restoring from backups was out of the question because the backup drives had been mounted on the server—the malware got to them, too. It was a total loss.
One way to defeat encryption is to attack the “pseudo-random number generator” (PRNG), and that’s exactly what we decided to do.

Spoiler: they foiled the ransomware. Secondary spoiler: your crypto is only as good as its keys and the management thereof. Foiling ransomware makes the schadenfreude extra satisfying.

In early 2013, an organization approached us for help recovering their data after their server was infected with a version of the ACCDFISA ransomware. The malware had combed through every file on every drive and encrypted all the important files. Restoring from backups was out of the question because the backup drives had been mounted on the server—the malware got to them, too. It was a total loss.
One way to defeat encryption is to attack the “pseudo-random number generator” (PRNG), and that’s exactly what we decided to do.___

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2015-07-26 23:14:15 (11 comments, 0 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

If TitansGrave has passed you by thus far, this is the perfect time to catch up. It's a "gripping serialized story", i.e. a great-to-watch collaborative storytelling exercise by Wil Wheaton and four actors who will look quite familiar if you've watched TableTop. In other words, they're playing an RPG with Wil as gamemaster. Whether or not you are interested in RPGs, if you're interested in storytelling I would give this a try.

I hadn't seen the game system they're using before and I'm impressed; the "stunt points" mechanic provides a outlet for imaginative choices and an opportunity to take hack-and-slash to a more interesting level.

If you enjoy collaborative storytelling in game form, also check out these shorter Tabletop episodes:
Fiasco https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXJxQ0NbFtk
Once Upon a... more »

If TitansGrave has passed you by thus far, this is the perfect time to catch up. It's a "gripping serialized story", i.e. a great-to-watch collaborative storytelling exercise by Wil Wheaton and four actors who will look quite familiar if you've watched TableTop. In other words, they're playing an RPG with Wil as gamemaster. Whether or not you are interested in RPGs, if you're interested in storytelling I would give this a try.

I hadn't seen the game system they're using before and I'm impressed; the "stunt points" mechanic provides a outlet for imaginative choices and an opportunity to take hack-and-slash to a more interesting level.

If you enjoy collaborative storytelling in game form, also check out these shorter Tabletop episodes:
Fiasco https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXJxQ0NbFtk
Once Upon a Time https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vbA7Bk6-pI___

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2015-07-26 17:05:42 (8 comments, 3 reshares, 28 +1s)Open 

FiveThirtyEight has, yet again, answered my burning statistical question:[1]

If we take this research at face value, we learn a few things. First, some exercise reduces your risk of death. Second, the optimal walking/jogging exercise is light to moderate jogging. The optimal speed is between 5 and 7 mph, and if you do 25 minutes about three times a week, you’re all set. Nothing in the data suggests that running more — farther, or faster — will do more to lower your risk of death.

Surprisingly, the couch to 5k thing seems to be spot on.

[1] My burning statistical questions do not generally involve actual burning muscles, but rather the burning stupidity sometimes involved in politics.

FiveThirtyEight has, yet again, answered my burning statistical question:[1]

If we take this research at face value, we learn a few things. First, some exercise reduces your risk of death. Second, the optimal walking/jogging exercise is light to moderate jogging. The optimal speed is between 5 and 7 mph, and if you do 25 minutes about three times a week, you’re all set. Nothing in the data suggests that running more — farther, or faster — will do more to lower your risk of death.

Surprisingly, the couch to 5k thing seems to be spot on.

[1] My burning statistical questions do not generally involve actual burning muscles, but rather the burning stupidity sometimes involved in politics.___

2015-07-26 02:08:44 (7 comments, 0 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

TIL it's possible to spit "you're a good citizen" at someone. In real life.

TIL it's possible to spit "you're a good citizen" at someone. In real life.___

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2015-07-22 05:06:15 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 0 +1s)Open 

Broccoli Noodles

1 pound whole wheat penne
2 pounds broccoli
1 large onion, chopped and caramelized (useful trick: 10 pounds of onions fits chopped into a turkey roaster pan for bulk caramelizing and freezing)
Juice of 3-4 lemons
Some olive oil to pour over
Pepper
8-16 oz queso fresco or other crumbly cheese

Start a pot of water boiling. Chop broccoli roughly, peeling stems. Boil broccoli until it mashes easily. Strain out broccoli from water into a large pot (or anything large with a flat bottom), return water to boil, cook pasta. Feel free to throw out the water after that. Or water your plants with bonus pre-compost bits of broccoli.

While pasta is cooking, mash the heck out of the broccoli and onions together with pepper, lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Mix cooked pasta, broccoli mash, and crumbled cheese.
... more »

Broccoli Noodles

1 pound whole wheat penne
2 pounds broccoli
1 large onion, chopped and caramelized (useful trick: 10 pounds of onions fits chopped into a turkey roaster pan for bulk caramelizing and freezing)
Juice of 3-4 lemons
Some olive oil to pour over
Pepper
8-16 oz queso fresco or other crumbly cheese

Start a pot of water boiling. Chop broccoli roughly, peeling stems. Boil broccoli until it mashes easily. Strain out broccoli from water into a large pot (or anything large with a flat bottom), return water to boil, cook pasta. Feel free to throw out the water after that. Or water your plants with bonus pre-compost bits of broccoli.

While pasta is cooking, mash the heck out of the broccoli and onions together with pepper, lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Mix cooked pasta, broccoli mash, and crumbled cheese.

___

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2015-07-20 17:57:38 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

I'm a hot air balloon that could go to space
With the air, like I don't care, baby, by the way

1. The air pressure in space is on the order of 1.46 × 10-18 Pa.
2. If you have a hot air balloon that operates in those conditions, I will be extremely impressed at your engineering prowess. Even with exceedingly light materials creating a full vacuum, I don't see any reasonable way to either reach escape velocity or sufficient height to maintain orbit without the kind of size that would put you in significant danger of being taken out by something like solar wind. Or maybe even the moon.

I'm a hot air balloon that could go to space
With the air, like I don't care, baby, by the way

1. The air pressure in space is on the order of 1.46 × 10-18 Pa.
2. If you have a hot air balloon that operates in those conditions, I will be extremely impressed at your engineering prowess. Even with exceedingly light materials creating a full vacuum, I don't see any reasonable way to either reach escape velocity or sufficient height to maintain orbit without the kind of size that would put you in significant danger of being taken out by something like solar wind. Or maybe even the moon.___

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2015-07-13 21:18:55 (3 comments, 2 reshares, 16 +1s)Open 

I posted a bit back about the nasty accidental effects of fundamental BGP insecurity [1]. Now we have documentation of actual malicious (mis)use of the protocol.

[1] https://plus.google.com/+LeaKissner/posts/TT9o7esqBbA

___I posted a bit back about the nasty accidental effects of fundamental BGP insecurity [1]. Now we have documentation of actual malicious (mis)use of the protocol.

[1] https://plus.google.com/+LeaKissner/posts/TT9o7esqBbA

2015-07-13 14:20:10 (3 comments, 2 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

I've been meaning to to get around to posting about the backdoor that the NSA seems to have designed into the Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator (Dual_EC_DRBG). It's not a subtle back door. There is essentially an encryption algorithm built into it, as in "hey, we're encrypting the secret seed and hiding it in here for you". I'm not up to the minute on posting this this, but I thought it was interesting enough to dig out and explain. Here's what I didn't realize: +Moti Yung and Adam Young scooped me back when I was in high school. They even scooped the Dual_EC_DRBG design. Or the NSA read their paper. One of those.

I have to run now, so can't explain the math with a great deal of laughing and swearing mixed in, so for more detail on the math behind the flaw,... more »

I've been meaning to to get around to posting about the backdoor that the NSA seems to have designed into the Dual Elliptic Curve Deterministic Random Bit Generator (Dual_EC_DRBG). It's not a subtle back door. There is essentially an encryption algorithm built into it, as in "hey, we're encrypting the secret seed and hiding it in here for you". I'm not up to the minute on posting this this, but I thought it was interesting enough to dig out and explain. Here's what I didn't realize: +Moti Yung and Adam Young scooped me back when I was in high school. They even scooped the Dual_EC_DRBG design. Or the NSA read their paper. One of those.

I have to run now, so can't explain the math with a great deal of laughing and swearing mixed in, so for more detail on the math behind the flaw, see http://blog.cryptographyengineering.com/2013/09/the-many-flaws-of-dualecdrbg.html___

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2015-07-12 17:11:33 (3 comments, 5 reshares, 15 +1s)Open 

OneZoom's tree of life explorer is lots of fun.  I like finding big isolated leaves, because it means there's one species that split off a long time ago from its nearest relatives.  It usually has some strange feature that's fun to read about.

For example, the big leaf visible below on the "lizards and snakes" branch is the tuatara.  Tuataras have two rows of teeth on top and only one row on bottom; they can focus their eyes independently, have a double retina---one set of cells for daylight vision and another, with tapetum lucidum, for night vision---and a third eyelid.  (We lost ours---the plica semilunaris is all that's left of it.) But most strangely, tuataras have a third eye on the top of its head! This "parietal eye" comes complete with cornea, lens, retina, and nerves, which suggests that it evolved from a real eye.

Another isolated leafis ... more »

OneZoom's tree of life explorer is lots of fun.  I like finding big isolated leaves, because it means there's one species that split off a long time ago from its nearest relatives.  It usually has some strange feature that's fun to read about.

For example, the big leaf visible below on the "lizards and snakes" branch is the tuatara.  Tuataras have two rows of teeth on top and only one row on bottom; they can focus their eyes independently, have a double retina---one set of cells for daylight vision and another, with tapetum lucidum, for night vision---and a third eyelid.  (We lost ours---the plica semilunaris is all that's left of it.) But most strangely, tuataras have a third eye on the top of its head! This "parietal eye" comes complete with cornea, lens, retina, and nerves, which suggests that it evolved from a real eye.

Another isolated leaf is the Kagu bird.  The Kagu has a unique kind of hemoglobin that holds three times as much oxygen as any other bird, and has specialized "nasal corns" that protect its nostrils when it plunges its beak into the dirt to grab worms.

Among mammals, all the monotremes are just plain weird, and marsupials are an alternate reality where a different set of mammals evolved to occupy all the various niches.  There are marsupial versions of anteaters, cats, groundhogs, moles, rhinoceros, panthers, squrrels, shrews, dogs, wolverines, plus, of course, their own special forms like kangaroos and opossums.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_adaptive_radiated_marsupials_by_form  

http://www.onezoom.org/ #evolution   #biology   #strangeanimals  ___

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2015-07-12 14:56:54 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Mustard green and chickpea salad
Tender mustard greens? Eat 'em raw.

Chop your mustard greens a bit more finely than you would with something more tender like lettuce -- I did them in ~3/8" crosswise strips.
Add drained/rinsed chickpeas, strips of radish, chopped green onions.

Dressing: whisk together tahini and lemon juice in about a 1:2 ratio with (optional) salt and smashed garlic.

Mustard green and chickpea salad
Tender mustard greens? Eat 'em raw.

Chop your mustard greens a bit more finely than you would with something more tender like lettuce -- I did them in ~3/8" crosswise strips.
Add drained/rinsed chickpeas, strips of radish, chopped green onions.

Dressing: whisk together tahini and lemon juice in about a 1:2 ratio with (optional) salt and smashed garlic.___

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2015-07-12 14:46:12 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

Spicy egg and lettuce rolls
So simple it's not really a recipe, but it tastes good enough to remember.

Scramble some eggs.
Roll pieces of egg, (optional) grated cheese, and Trader Joe's Cowboy Caviar salsa in a piece of lettuce.
Eat.

If you don't have Cowboy Caviar, you can fake it by mixing cooked black beans and corn and red pepper into salsa.

Spicy egg and lettuce rolls
So simple it's not really a recipe, but it tastes good enough to remember.

Scramble some eggs.
Roll pieces of egg, (optional) grated cheese, and Trader Joe's Cowboy Caviar salsa in a piece of lettuce.
Eat.

If you don't have Cowboy Caviar, you can fake it by mixing cooked black beans and corn and red pepper into salsa.___

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2015-07-07 20:12:12 (4 comments, 7 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

Let's go back to Rule 0 again:
In the United States, Michael S. Rogers, the director of the N.S.A., has proposed that technology companies be required to create a digital key that could unlock encrypted communications, but divide and secure the key into pieces so that no one person or government agency could use it alone.

The report’s authors argue that not only is such a plan technically unfeasible, the approach understates how much higher the stakes are today. In the 1990s, the Internet era was just beginning — their 1997 report is littered with references to “electronic mail” and “facsimile communications,” which are now quaint communications methods. Today, the government’s plans could affect the technology used to lock financial institutions and medical data, and poke a hole in mobile devices and the countless other critical systems — including pipelines, nuclearfacilities, the... more »

Let's go back to Rule 0 again:
In the United States, Michael S. Rogers, the director of the N.S.A., has proposed that technology companies be required to create a digital key that could unlock encrypted communications, but divide and secure the key into pieces so that no one person or government agency could use it alone.

The report’s authors argue that not only is such a plan technically unfeasible, the approach understates how much higher the stakes are today. In the 1990s, the Internet era was just beginning — their 1997 report is littered with references to “electronic mail” and “facsimile communications,” which are now quaint communications methods. Today, the government’s plans could affect the technology used to lock financial institutions and medical data, and poke a hole in mobile devices and the countless other critical systems — including pipelines, nuclear facilities, the power grid — that are moving online rapidly.

“Such access will open doors through which criminals and malicious nation-states can attack the very individuals law enforcement seeks to defend,” the report said. “The costs would be substantial, the damage to innovation severe, and the consequences to economic growth hard to predict. The costs to the developed countries’ soft power and to our moral authority would also be considerable.”___

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2015-07-07 13:15:01 (4 comments, 4 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

Brumotti seems wasted as a road rider, given the mind-blowing trials tricks he can do with even a road bike. The bike seems a part of his body.

Brumotti seems wasted as a road rider, given the mind-blowing trials tricks he can do with even a road bike. The bike seems a part of his body.___

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2015-07-07 04:03:05 (9 comments, 5 reshares, 26 +1s)Open 

Visit the most radioactive places on Earth! Measure their doses in bananas! Actually, don't visit the most radioactive place. Not only will it likely surprise you, but it will smell terrible.

Visit the most radioactive places on Earth! Measure their doses in bananas! Actually, don't visit the most radioactive place. Not only will it likely surprise you, but it will smell terrible.___

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2015-07-06 20:42:51 (2 comments, 2 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

My rule 0 for privacy, security, system design, or anything else in the world: Do what you promise. The strong corollary to this is to only promise what you can and will do. That means planning. That means design.

The FTC brought an enforcement action against Nomi for failing to provide the promised in-store opt out. For a single misstatement, Nomi is subject to a twenty-year consent order, resulting in twenty years of government privacy audits and other compliance burdens.

Nomi’s privacy policy was inaccurate and should have been corrected. The severity of the conditions Nomi agreed to, however, suggest that the FTC’s penalty options, particularly with data privacy and security cases, are not carefully calibrated to produce the desired results. The FTC needs more gradation in its penalties between a slap on the wrist and decades long oversight for companies that violatecon... more »

My rule 0 for privacy, security, system design, or anything else in the world: Do what you promise. The strong corollary to this is to only promise what you can and will do. That means planning. That means design.

The FTC brought an enforcement action against Nomi for failing to provide the promised in-store opt out. For a single misstatement, Nomi is subject to a twenty-year consent order, resulting in twenty years of government privacy audits and other compliance burdens.

Nomi’s privacy policy was inaccurate and should have been corrected. The severity of the conditions Nomi agreed to, however, suggest that the FTC’s penalty options, particularly with data privacy and security cases, are not carefully calibrated to produce the desired results. The FTC needs more gradation in its penalties between a slap on the wrist and decades long oversight for companies that violate consumers’ data privacy, particularly for cases where little or no consumer injury occurred. This might encourage more privacy innovations, while allowing the FTC to police more violations.___

2015-07-03 15:01:14 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 24 +1s)Open 

On top of all the reasons +Yonatan Zunger​ mentioned, diversity is even more important for teams thinking about and working on user privacy. "Privacy" doesn't have a fixed and consistent definition from person to person. More diverse teams often means more diverse worries. We are stronger with both a diversity of worries and skills to address them.

Despite this article's title, it's about more than just women of color in technology: it's about recruiting and retaining people from underrepresented groups across the board. And that's something extremely important to the success of any technology company.

Why? There are three major reasons.

(1) Diverse groups avoid stupid product mistakes. This is in literally every sense of the word "diverse:" if you have people from different groups in your team, they'll notice – and you'll prioritize – problems that you never would have spotted otherwise. If your system doesn't work for the deaf and someone on your team is deaf, or if it requires hitting tiny affordances all the time and you have someone with a motion disability, you're never going to ship it that way, and that means more users. If your system has a price structure, or a branding, or a visual style that would never appeal to users outside of Silicon Valley, you'll catch that if people on your team are from a very different world. If women experience a different kind of abuse on your system than men do, then you'll build entirely different protections into your system if there are women in the room when you're making the design decisions.

The key point is that these are just examples: nobody can predict what an extra set of eyeballs, especially different eyeballs, will catch. The one thing that's reliable is that each set of eyeballs – not just working grunt jobs, but in the core decision-making process – means you don't make a mistake that shuts out a bunch of potential customers.

(2) Diversity interrupts groupthink. It's really easy for a room full of similar people to start to talk in similar ways. Not only do you not make the right decisions, you don't even realize there are decisions that you're implicitly making. More different eyes prevent that.

(3) You get to hire the best people. People who haven't been in this game very long think "Recruit minorities? You mean lower the bar!" People who have played this for a while hear that and think "Sucker."

The thing about structural racism/sexism/etc. is that a lot of people from the various underrepresented groups don't have the "traditional signifiers" of being good. They won't have gone to the top-tier schools, or they won't have any contacts, or their job history will be so-so. What you quickly learn in engineering, though, is that these signifiers are simply signals that you use when trying to find good people – and overall, as signals, they kind of suck. Terribly.

I've lost count of how many people I've interviewed who came from top-tier schools and had a glowing résumé and couldn't think an independent thought or design a system on their own to save their lives. Top-tier schools don't provide a systematically better education in CS; often, CS departments are so mathematically inclined that students that don't actively go the extra mile come out with a degree in theory and no ability to code. They used to claim that they were "filtering out the best of the best," but in practice, they do a lot of that filtering starting from "people with enough contacts to get in." 

Job histories are sometimes useful, sometimes not, especially in an era where so many people end up unable to find a job for months or years at a stretch anyway. 

References are great, but they're only a positive signal: the lack of references tells you nothing.

And the important thing is, that unless you're a tiny company hiring a temp, or hiring a senior specialist, you shouldn't be hiring for experience: you should be hiring for brains. You can teach CS; you can't teach smart.

What this means is that among these "underrepresented groups," there are a bunch of smart people out there who, lacking these traditional signifiers, aren't getting the right job offers. And that means smart people that you can hire. Lots of them. All you have to do is hire them and treat them with respect.

(As a side note: I attended GHC, the biggest annual conference for women in CS last year, for recruiting purposes. The quality of people looking for jobs there was insane compared to any other CS event.)


But.... if you want to hire and retain these people, you have to make an active effort. This open letter has a bunch of specific suggestions in it which I personally think are all individually excellent: I endorse these ideas wholeheartedly.

(NB: It also makes several statements about how various companies do things. I have it on good authority that several of these statements are incorrect, but I have no personal knowledge either way and so am neither affirming nor negating that part. My endorsement of this letter is about all of the courses of action it favors, which I think are excellent ideas; on the rest, I have no opinion)

I will add: In my groups, people of all genders, races, and backgrounds are not only welcome but actively desired. This is the case now and will continue to be the case in every team I run in the future.

Thanks to +Erica Joy for pointing me at this great letter.

[DISCLAIMER: I am writing this post in my personal capacity and am not speaking on behalf of Google. I make no assertions as to the truth or falsity of any of the claims of fact made within the letter, nor of any conclusions of law. Those of you who have been in the field for a while know why I have to state this, too]___On top of all the reasons +Yonatan Zunger​ mentioned, diversity is even more important for teams thinking about and working on user privacy. "Privacy" doesn't have a fixed and consistent definition from person to person. More diverse teams often means more diverse worries. We are stronger with both a diversity of worries and skills to address them.

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2015-06-27 23:58:13 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

Curried chickpeas and roasted purple cabbage
Tastes good with a dollop of Greek yoghurt, optionally flavoured with cumin.

Curried chickpeas:
Chop a large onion and sautee with olive oil or butter until starting to caramelize.
Add two 16 oz cans drained and rinsed chickpeas.
Add some water, just enough to mostly cover the chickpeas.
Season to taste. I tend to use some combination of cumin, fenugreek, curry powder, garam masala.
Simmer until the water is pretty much gone.

Roasted cabbage:
Heat oven to 400 degrees F
Wash a head of cabbage and slice into circles about 3/8" thick perpendicular to the root.
Lightly rub the cabbage with oil and sprinkle with salt&pepper.
Roast until it looks tasty and cooked all the way through. I tend to wait a bit longer to make it more caramelized.

Curried chickpeas and roasted purple cabbage
Tastes good with a dollop of Greek yoghurt, optionally flavoured with cumin.

Curried chickpeas:
Chop a large onion and sautee with olive oil or butter until starting to caramelize.
Add two 16 oz cans drained and rinsed chickpeas.
Add some water, just enough to mostly cover the chickpeas.
Season to taste. I tend to use some combination of cumin, fenugreek, curry powder, garam masala.
Simmer until the water is pretty much gone.

Roasted cabbage:
Heat oven to 400 degrees F
Wash a head of cabbage and slice into circles about 3/8" thick perpendicular to the root.
Lightly rub the cabbage with oil and sprinkle with salt&pepper.
Roast until it looks tasty and cooked all the way through. I tend to wait a bit longer to make it more caramelized.___

posted image

2015-06-27 13:40:19 (6 comments, 1 reshares, 27 +1s)Open 

Today and every day, Googlers around the world stand in solidarity with the people of Charleston and against racism. #BlackLivesMatter

Today and every day, Googlers around the world stand in solidarity with the people of Charleston and against racism. #BlackLivesMatter___

2015-06-25 18:31:02 (4 comments, 2 reshares, 8 +1s)Open 

Unique, to the best of my knowledge, in poetry is this 17th century poem written in praise of Rossignol's cryptanalytical prowess. Cryptographers might inspire praise or rage, but far too rarely artistic endeavor!

There’s not a thing beneath the skies;
That can be hidden from thine eyes;
Those Lynceus eyes, which, I believe,
Our most internal thoughts perceive.

How marvelous thy skill, and bright,
And how important thine art’s might!
For with it provinces are gained,
All princes’ secrets ascertained,

And by it, with an effort small,
Are towns and forts compelled to fall.
Indeed, thy art’s beyond my ken
And I shall never comprehend secret;

but I now can tell
That it hath served thee very well.
Thou dost deserve it. Have no fears—
Thy skill shall prosper thee for years.

Too, Fortunewill upon... more »

Unique, to the best of my knowledge, in poetry is this 17th century poem written in praise of Rossignol's cryptanalytical prowess. Cryptographers might inspire praise or rage, but far too rarely artistic endeavor!

There’s not a thing beneath the skies;
That can be hidden from thine eyes;
Those Lynceus eyes, which, I believe,
Our most internal thoughts perceive.

How marvelous thy skill, and bright,
And how important thine art’s might!
For with it provinces are gained,
All princes’ secrets ascertained,

And by it, with an effort small,
Are towns and forts compelled to fall.
Indeed, thy art’s beyond my ken
And I shall never comprehend secret;

but I now can tell
That it hath served thee very well.
Thou dost deserve it. Have no fears—
Thy skill shall prosper thee for years.

Too, Fortune will upon thee smile,
And long as wars the land defile 
Bellona shall, in strife to come,
Thy cipher praise, ‘midst fife and drum.

II n’est plus rien dessous les Cieux
Qu’on puisse cacher à tes yeux;
Et crois que ces yeux de Lyncée
Lisent mesme dans la pensée.

Que ton service est éclatant
Et que ton Art est important!
On gagne par luy des Provinces,
On sçait tous les secrets des Princes,

Et par luy, sans beaucoup d’efforts,
On prend les villes & les forts.
Certes j’ignore ton adresse,
Je ne comprends point la finesse

De ton secret; mais je sçay bien
Qu’il t’a donné beaucoup de bien;
Tu le mérites, & je gage
Qu’il t’en donnera d’avantage;

Tousjours fortune te rira,
Et, tant que guerre durera,
Bellone exaltera tes Chittres
Parmy les tambours & les fiffres.___

2015-06-23 04:27:10 (14 comments, 5 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

Do you, like Abu Zebaydah, want your very own H-bomb? You're in luck, thanks to these handy directions from Caltech! Read the whole thing, it's fantastic.

_First pour a few gallons of concentrated hydrofluoric acid into your uranium oxide, converting it to uranium tetrafluoride. (Safety note: Concentrated hydrofluoric acid is so corrosive that it will eat its way through glass, so store it only in plastic. Used 1-gallon plastic milk containers will do.) Now you have to convert your uranium tetrafluoride to uranium hexafluoride, the gaseous form of uranium, which is
convenient for separating out the isotope U-235 from U-238._

To get the hexafluoride form, bubble fluorine gas into your container of uranium tetrafluoride. Fluorine is available in pressurized tanks from chemical-supply firms. Be careful how you use it though because fluorine is several times more deadly than... more »

Do you, like Abu Zebaydah, want your very own H-bomb? You're in luck, thanks to these handy directions from Caltech! Read the whole thing, it's fantastic.

_First pour a few gallons of concentrated hydrofluoric acid into your uranium oxide, converting it to uranium tetrafluoride. (Safety note: Concentrated hydrofluoric acid is so corrosive that it will eat its way through glass, so store it only in plastic. Used 1-gallon plastic milk containers will do.) Now you have to convert your uranium tetrafluoride to uranium hexafluoride, the gaseous form of uranium, which is
convenient for separating out the isotope U-235 from U-238._

To get the hexafluoride form, bubble fluorine gas into your container of uranium tetrafluoride. Fluorine is available in pressurized tanks from chemical-supply firms. Be careful how you use it though because fluorine is several times more deadly than chlorine, the classic World War I poison gas. Chemists recommend that you carry out this step under a stove hood (the kind used to remove unpleasant cooking odors).

First transform the gas into a liquid by subjecting it to pressure. You can use a bicycle pump for this. Then make a simple home centrifuge. Fill a standard-size bucket one-quarter full of liquid uranium hexafluoride. Attach a six-foot rope to the bucket handle. Now swing the rope (and attached bucket) around your head as fast as possible. Keep this up for about 45 minutes.

Hat tip to +Last Week Tonight with John Oliver​.___

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2015-06-22 17:58:02 (7 comments, 0 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

This book raises a lot more questions than it answers. The eponymous blue truck lives in the skynet future of self-driving, self-aware vehicles. The humans exhibit a range of emotions, but the vehicles are all grinning maniacally. Are they built that way? Have they taken over society? They're certainly building a lot of roads; perhaps they're paving the world to be able to reach the (unmentioned and unpictured) human rebel faction hiding in the hills.

This book raises a lot more questions than it answers. The eponymous blue truck lives in the skynet future of self-driving, self-aware vehicles. The humans exhibit a range of emotions, but the vehicles are all grinning maniacally. Are they built that way? Have they taken over society? They're certainly building a lot of roads; perhaps they're paving the world to be able to reach the (unmentioned and unpictured) human rebel faction hiding in the hills.___

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2015-06-14 22:38:43 (18 comments, 0 reshares, 74 +1s)Open 

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to take an amazing ride in an old warbird: a T-6 Texan. This one is specially equipped for the job; you can't do anything truly dangerous from the rear seat. ;)

You'll notice that I have two sets of straps over my shoulders. The grey set is the harness (to keep me from falling right through the glass canopy). The green set is the parachute, just in case I should need to take an unscheduled detour through the glass canopy.

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to take an amazing ride in an old warbird: a T-6 Texan. This one is specially equipped for the job; you can't do anything truly dangerous from the rear seat. ;)

You'll notice that I have two sets of straps over my shoulders. The grey set is the harness (to keep me from falling right through the glass canopy). The green set is the parachute, just in case I should need to take an unscheduled detour through the glass canopy.___

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2015-06-10 13:52:55 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

Random awesome fact about ants. Even better, a whole YouTube channel full of interesting little bits of wonder.

Where Are the Ants Carrying All Those Leaves?

Ants don’t eat leaves. They use them to grow white tufts of nutritious fungus to feed their offspring. Their success as farmers has made leafcutter ants into fungus tycoons, complete with their own underground cities and huge half-inch soldiers to patrol them.

Check out #DeepLook’s new science videos by KQED and PBS Digital Studios and see the unseen in ultra-HD. Subscribe on YouTube and uncover the secret world of leafcutters ants premiering on June 11. http://ow.ly/O6oA1 ___Random awesome fact about ants. Even better, a whole YouTube channel full of interesting little bits of wonder.

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2015-06-09 19:17:43 (3 comments, 2 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

"FBI officials now want Congress to expand their authority to tap into messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Kik, as well as data-destroying apps such as Wickr and Surespot, that hundreds of millions of people — and apparently some militants — have embraced precisely because they guarantee security and anonymity."

"FBI officials now want Congress to expand their authority to tap into messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Kik, as well as data-destroying apps such as Wickr and Surespot, that hundreds of millions of people — and apparently some militants — have embraced precisely because they guarantee security and anonymity."___

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2015-06-06 22:57:44 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 17 +1s)Open 

Fear Hamsterzilla!

(King of Tokyo needs another expansion, don't you think?)

Fear Hamsterzilla!

(King of Tokyo needs another expansion, don't you think?)___

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2015-06-03 12:25:49 (0 comments, 3 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

It should be fairly obvious that discrimination imposes costs on the people being discriminated against. But if you think about it for a moment, it should also be fairly obvious that discrimination -- be it explicit or implicit -- also imposes costs on the economy as a whole.

The reason is fairly simple: if a market were truly "free" (with all the subtleties that that phrase entails), people would be doing what they're best at, in the way that rewards them the most. Discrimination is, by its nature, something that keeps people from doing what they want to. And general principles of economics tell us that, when resources are allocated inefficiently, the economy as a whole slows down.

More concretely, if there's someone who would have been a great doctor, but is instead forced by circumstance -- be it being the wrong race or growing up poor -- to be a janitor instead,... more »

It should be fairly obvious that discrimination imposes costs on the people being discriminated against. But if you think about it for a moment, it should also be fairly obvious that discrimination -- be it explicit or implicit -- also imposes costs on the economy as a whole.

The reason is fairly simple: if a market were truly "free" (with all the subtleties that that phrase entails), people would be doing what they're best at, in the way that rewards them the most. Discrimination is, by its nature, something that keeps people from doing what they want to. And general principles of economics tell us that, when resources are allocated inefficiently, the economy as a whole slows down.

More concretely, if there's someone who would have been a great doctor, but is instead forced by circumstance -- be it being the wrong race or growing up poor -- to be a janitor instead, then not only does she lose out on everything she would have gained as a doctor, but everyone else loses out on everything she would have done as a doctor.

This brings us to this rather interesting paper from four researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research, who wanted to put some numbers to this. (http://klenow.com/HHJK.pdf) For example, in 1960, 94% of doctors and lawyers were white men; in 2008, 62% were. Since there's no reason to believe that white men are intrinsically better at being doctors than anyone else, that gives us a way to estimate how many people would have been doctors who weren't. By building a mathematical model out of this, they estimate the real economic impact of discrimination -- and it turns out that somewhere between 15-20% of our total economic growth during that period comes from that.

For a sense of scale, during this time the inflation-adjusted GDP grew from $3.95T (in 2008 dollars) to $14.7T. That means that at the lower end of the estimate, the discrimination that went away between 1960 and 2008 was costing the US about $33 billion (in 2008 dollars, again) per year.

Note that this is just the aggregate cost to society as a whole, summed up between rich and poor. Obviously some people gained from this as well -- e.g., the people who became doctors who wouldn't have been able to, had the full pool of people who could have been doctors been allowed to participate. (And there's your next unsettling thought for the day: if you take the people who want to be doctors and line them up in order of how good a doctor they would be, and cut it off after you have enough doctors, you've got the best possible pool of doctors. If you take any one of them out of eligibility for some reason, then his replacement is mathematically guaranteed to be a worse doctor. You have just promoted some undeserving schmuck to perform surgery on you. Congratulations.) 

But leaving aside the question of how different people fared under this, consider as well: this difference accounts for all of the discrimination that went away between 1960 and 2008.

We have not, by any stretch of the imagination, gotten rid of all the discrimination. The girl growing up in the Appalachian back country, the boy growing up in Baltimore, the child of migrant farm workers, these people are not likely to be able to go to college, get a BA or MD, work in the job of their choice. 

When we talk about the economic costs of inequality, this is the sort of thing that really matters: not just the costs to those at the bottom, but the fact that inequality of opportunity has huge costs for society as a whole. Since in our society in particular, opportunity is greatly tied to existing resources -- consider anything from access to out-of-school enrichment, to having a good suit to wear to an interview, to knowing how to interview for a job in the first place (you learned that; it wasn't innate. You learned it from other people, and access to those people is a resource) -- resource inequality leads in turn to opportunity inequality, and that drags everyone down, even as it enriches the incompetent few.

Macroeconomics says: Trade makes everyone wealthier. You can't impoverish some people without that screwing everyone else over, as well. Trying to flout those laws tends to work about as well as trying to flout gravity: it might work really well, briefly. There's just that sudden stop at the end.


(Illustration via Paul Townsend: https://flic.kr/p/dVva6h. What goes up tends to come down somewhat rapidly, at times.)___

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2015-06-01 22:53:40 (5 comments, 8 reshares, 17 +1s)Open 

I don't trust the network. You shouldn't trust the network. There are a host (har) of reasons why, but BGP is right up there.

For example, Pakistan attempted to block YouTube and instead blackholed YouTube, causing both a massive YouTube outage and a massive Pakistan outage:
When the Pakistani company attempted to carry out the government’s order, it made a mistake in configuring its BGP messages to the rest of the Internet. The result was that most of YouTube’s worldwide traffic was sent to Pakistan. The crush of data overwhelmed the servers there and disrupted YouTube for two hours.

That was just incompetent, but other players are not just disrupting the net but increasingly using BGP attacks to slurp out data:
An unknown hacker managed to take control of traffic destined for more than a dozen Internet companies, including Amazon and Alibaba, in a seriesof ... more »

I don't trust the network. You shouldn't trust the network. There are a host (har) of reasons why, but BGP is right up there.

For example, Pakistan attempted to block YouTube and instead blackholed YouTube, causing both a massive YouTube outage and a massive Pakistan outage:
When the Pakistani company attempted to carry out the government’s order, it made a mistake in configuring its BGP messages to the rest of the Internet. The result was that most of YouTube’s worldwide traffic was sent to Pakistan. The crush of data overwhelmed the servers there and disrupted YouTube for two hours.

That was just incompetent, but other players are not just disrupting the net but increasingly using BGP attacks to slurp out data:
An unknown hacker managed to take control of traffic destined for more than a dozen Internet companies, including Amazon and Alibaba, in a series of brief hijackings between February and May 2014. The goal was to steal the online currency bitcoin. By the time the hack was discovered, $83,000 worth of bitcoins had disappeared — mysteriously snatched from the hijacked Internet traffic — according to a report by Dell SecureWorks.

The Chinese diversion of U.S. military traffic for 18 minutes in April 2010 is one of the most carefully studied incidents in the long history of BGP insecurity, but experts still debate whether it was intentional. It started when China Telecom, a government-owned telecommunications giant, sent out a BGP message claiming to provide the best routes to tens of thousands of networks worldwide, including 16,000 from the United States.

Even more attacks:
http://www.computerworlduk.com/news/security/warning-targeted-internet-misdirection-on-the-rise-3490033/___

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2015-06-01 17:29:11 (8 comments, 0 reshares, 17 +1s)Open 

I inadvertently pulled out a little time capsule from my childhood to play with my child: Take Off!, the game of randomized plane travel. The face of the world has changed dramatically in the last three decades. Honestly, I hadn't even heard of Kampuchea (that's apparently what the Khmer Rouge called Cambodia). The USSR! East/West Germany! The Balkans! All kinds of changes in Africa!

The world is a quite different place these days.

I inadvertently pulled out a little time capsule from my childhood to play with my child: Take Off!, the game of randomized plane travel. The face of the world has changed dramatically in the last three decades. Honestly, I hadn't even heard of Kampuchea (that's apparently what the Khmer Rouge called Cambodia). The USSR! East/West Germany! The Balkans! All kinds of changes in Africa!

The world is a quite different place these days.___

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2015-06-01 17:17:34 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 3 +1s)Open 

I pulled out and played Take Off! with my kid. The world has changed quite a bit since then! I haven't seen the USSR or East/West Germany on a map for decades, not to mention Kampuchea!

I pulled out and played Take Off! with my kid. The world has changed quite a bit since then! I haven't seen the USSR or East/West Germany on a map for decades, not to mention Kampuchea!___

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2015-05-31 14:29:15 (12 comments, 1 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

That "van" looks suspiciously like a box truck. This is the book's cover.

Scarily, not nearly the worst example of a "learn words" book we've had. In addition to so many factual errors that +Chris Colohan​ eventually took a marker to it, the ISBN was even wrong!

That "van" looks suspiciously like a box truck. This is the book's cover.

Scarily, not nearly the worst example of a "learn words" book we've had. In addition to so many factual errors that +Chris Colohan​ eventually took a marker to it, the ISBN was even wrong!___

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2015-05-28 18:02:58 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

A Google approach to Photos

At my daughter's preschool graduation not too long ago, my wife and I naturally wanted to capture the moment. So together we took a little over 550 photos and videos! And then promptly ran out of time to do anything with the photos we took. I think we can all sympathize with this; expecting all those photos and videos to make reliving the moments that matter easier, only to find out that the sheer volume has made it harder. 

And that’s why I’m thrilled to introduce the new Google Photos. A home for all your photos and videos, organized and brought to life, so that you can share and save what matters.

Check out my blog post about how we’ve made it easier to relive a lifetime’s worth of photos and videos through the new Google Photos. http://goo.gl/TbBuZX 

A Google approach to Photos

At my daughter's preschool graduation not too long ago, my wife and I naturally wanted to capture the moment. So together we took a little over 550 photos and videos! And then promptly ran out of time to do anything with the photos we took. I think we can all sympathize with this; expecting all those photos and videos to make reliving the moments that matter easier, only to find out that the sheer volume has made it harder. 

And that’s why I’m thrilled to introduce the new Google Photos. A home for all your photos and videos, organized and brought to life, so that you can share and save what matters.

Check out my blog post about how we’ve made it easier to relive a lifetime’s worth of photos and videos through the new Google Photos. http://goo.gl/TbBuZX ___

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2015-05-28 16:29:11 (3 comments, 0 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

Should have brought some knitting to work today.

Should have brought some knitting to work today.___

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2015-05-27 21:54:51 (9 comments, 4 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

I love this graph for everything it tells us about how amazingly difficult it is to realistically remove identifying characteristics of data.[1] See that interesting little divot in the graph? That is the line between failure and success.

 Poland employs a fairly elaborate system to avoid bias and grade inflation: removing students’ names from the exams, distributing them to thousands of teachers and graders across the country, employing a well-defined key to determine grades.

Evidently it's not quite working. I'd try is to split up the grading so that no one reviewer knows the total score, under the theory that the graders don't want to flunk someone by just a few points.

[1] It's not impossible, just challenging! That's why it's interesting.

I love this graph for everything it tells us about how amazingly difficult it is to realistically remove identifying characteristics of data.[1] See that interesting little divot in the graph? That is the line between failure and success.

 Poland employs a fairly elaborate system to avoid bias and grade inflation: removing students’ names from the exams, distributing them to thousands of teachers and graders across the country, employing a well-defined key to determine grades.

Evidently it's not quite working. I'd try is to split up the grading so that no one reviewer knows the total score, under the theory that the graders don't want to flunk someone by just a few points.

[1] It's not impossible, just challenging! That's why it's interesting.___

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2015-05-27 21:03:15 (7 comments, 0 reshares, 7 +1s)Open 

While the male Darwin's frog does tend his offspring inside his vocal sac from egg to tadpole to becoming tiny frogs that hop right out of his mouth, I see no evidence to suggest that eyeball kissing is part of that care. Also, encouraging babies/toddlers to kiss eyeballs is going to have extremely predictable consequences.

The female Darwin's frog (Rhinoderma darwinii) from Chile lays up to 40 eggs on the ground, where they are guarded by the male. When the tadpoles are about to hatch, they are engulfed by the male, which carries them around inside his much-enlarged vocal sac. Here they are immersed in a frothy, viscous liquid that contains some nourishment to supplement what they obtain from the yolks of the eggs. They remain in the sac for seven to ten weeks before undergoing metamorphosis, after which they move into the male's mouth and emerge.... more »

While the male Darwin's frog does tend his offspring inside his vocal sac from egg to tadpole to becoming tiny frogs that hop right out of his mouth, I see no evidence to suggest that eyeball kissing is part of that care. Also, encouraging babies/toddlers to kiss eyeballs is going to have extremely predictable consequences.

The female Darwin's frog (Rhinoderma darwinii) from Chile lays up to 40 eggs on the ground, where they are guarded by the male. When the tadpoles are about to hatch, they are engulfed by the male, which carries them around inside his much-enlarged vocal sac. Here they are immersed in a frothy, viscous liquid that contains some nourishment to supplement what they obtain from the yolks of the eggs. They remain in the sac for seven to ten weeks before undergoing metamorphosis, after which they move into the male's mouth and emerge.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frog#Parental_care___

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2015-05-27 01:41:19 (7 comments, 0 reshares, 43 +1s)Open 

We had a hungry visitor.

+Dave Besbris, in case he is feeling a lack of squirrels.

We had a hungry visitor.

+Dave Besbris, in case he is feeling a lack of squirrels.___

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2015-05-26 18:01:55 (12 comments, 5 reshares, 19 +1s)Open 

The woman behind the wheel again told Parisi her chair wouldn’t fit in the trunk. This time, Parisi didn’t take no for an answer. She says she loaded herself and her chair into the back of the car without help from the driver, only to receive an earful of abuse for the entire trip to the airport.

Parisi says the driver called her an “invalid” and said she “must not be a Christian” and needed to “develop thicker skin.”

In case you needed a reminder, this is part of why we have the ADA. Everyone needs something a bit different in order to do their best.

The woman behind the wheel again told Parisi her chair wouldn’t fit in the trunk. This time, Parisi didn’t take no for an answer. She says she loaded herself and her chair into the back of the car without help from the driver, only to receive an earful of abuse for the entire trip to the airport.

Parisi says the driver called her an “invalid” and said she “must not be a Christian” and needed to “develop thicker skin.”

In case you needed a reminder, this is part of why we have the ADA. Everyone needs something a bit different in order to do their best.___

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2015-05-25 21:12:30 (19 comments, 1 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

I love board games[1]. I love playing board games with couples (and with my spouse). One rule, though: don't be Seth and Clare. No special pleading or out of game retaliation [2]. Please. I promise we can be socially awkward enough without the assistance.

[1] Just ask anyone who sits near me at work. The number of copies of Dominion alone is staggering.

[2] Special rules may apply for Diplomacy, which is why I won't play it. I like my friends and don't want that to change.

I love board games[1]. I love playing board games with couples (and with my spouse). One rule, though: don't be Seth and Clare. No special pleading or out of game retaliation [2]. Please. I promise we can be socially awkward enough without the assistance.

[1] Just ask anyone who sits near me at work. The number of copies of Dominion alone is staggering.

[2] Special rules may apply for Diplomacy, which is why I won't play it. I like my friends and don't want that to change.___

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2015-05-25 04:04:40 (7 comments, 1 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

... he was a beautiful butterfly ... with mysteriously inverted wings. That butterfly is going to get quite the surprise when he tries to fly!

... he was a beautiful butterfly ... with mysteriously inverted wings. That butterfly is going to get quite the surprise when he tries to fly!___

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2015-05-23 15:14:40 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

There were lots of fish in pool, but the bears never tried to catch them, so they were all good friends and played together.

I suspect the author encountered someone else whose first response to this drawing was "bear snack!"

There were lots of fish in pool, but the bears never tried to catch them, so they were all good friends and played together.

I suspect the author encountered someone else whose first response to this drawing was "bear snack!"___

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2015-05-23 02:05:05 (0 comments, 2 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

Our latest research look at  the security and usability of secret questions.  For more information you can read our official blog post: Some Tough Questions for ‘Security Questions’ - here http://bit.ly/1c7mkBH or head straight for the slides and paper http://goo.gl/EDqkVC

#security   #google  +Research at Google 

Our latest research look at  the security and usability of secret questions.  For more information you can read our official blog post: Some Tough Questions for ‘Security Questions’ - here http://bit.ly/1c7mkBH or head straight for the slides and paper http://goo.gl/EDqkVC

#security   #google  +Research at Google ___

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2015-05-22 16:26:30 (0 comments, 0 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

How do bees carry nectar and water? They have a honey stomach.

[T]he esophagus enlarges near the stomach into a crop, or honey stomach, which serves as a reservoir for liquids to be later regurgitated. In honey ant repletes, the crop may be greatly distended. In honeybees, it may contain as much as 75 milligrams (0.003 ounce) of nectar, which can be about one-third the insect’s total weight.

(Hat tip to my kid, who asked how bees digest.)

How do bees carry nectar and water? They have a honey stomach.

[T]he esophagus enlarges near the stomach into a crop, or honey stomach, which serves as a reservoir for liquids to be later regurgitated. In honey ant repletes, the crop may be greatly distended. In honeybees, it may contain as much as 75 milligrams (0.003 ounce) of nectar, which can be about one-third the insect’s total weight.

(Hat tip to my kid, who asked how bees digest.)___

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2015-05-22 12:59:39 (13 comments, 3 reshares, 25 +1s)Open 

Computer security is so mysterious, so invisible, that it seems like magic to most.

wat___Computer security is so mysterious, so invisible, that it seems like magic to most.

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2015-05-21 00:06:25 (8 comments, 0 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

Hey look! This fish breathes air!

Hey look! This fish breathes air!___

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2015-05-21 00:05:00 (12 comments, 2 reshares, 15 +1s)Open 

A bunny likes to dig a home and then go down and live in it. But this bunny was too little to live in a hole... unlike the billions of bunnies over millions of years who were born in holes.

A bunny likes to dig a home and then go down and live in it. But this bunny was too little to live in a hole... unlike the billions of bunnies over millions of years who were born in holes.___

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2015-05-19 15:54:17 (8 comments, 2 reshares, 20 +1s)Open 

I was thinking about this in shower today because I bought a new bottle of shampoo and it came with bonus blue flakes. It took me a while to figure out that they're plastic. Little bits of plastic that I'm rubbing into my hair and then rinsing down the drain to live forever or break down into smaller pieces that are eaten by fish, who them bioaccumulate and concentrate things which aren't food and not good to eat. Why? It's a terrible waste.


"It's a persistent substance, and organisms like fish are trying to ingest it," Sutton said. "And you've got chemical contaminant issues. This is a preventable type of pollution, and it's certainly not something we could encourage to have in the bay."

Plastic Pollution: California Lawmakers to Vote on Banning 'Microbeads' From Personal Care Products

"Tiny pieces of plastic -- most no bigger than a pencil dot -- called 'microbeads' are designed to do everything from help exfoliate skin to whiten teeth.

But they are pouring by the billions into oceans, rivers and bodies of water like San Francisco Bay, scientists say, contaminating the environment and wildlife as people rinse and wash." Read more from the San Jose Mercury News.___I was thinking about this in shower today because I bought a new bottle of shampoo and it came with bonus blue flakes. It took me a while to figure out that they're plastic. Little bits of plastic that I'm rubbing into my hair and then rinsing down the drain to live forever or break down into smaller pieces that are eaten by fish, who them bioaccumulate and concentrate things which aren't food and not good to eat. Why? It's a terrible waste.


"It's a persistent substance, and organisms like fish are trying to ingest it," Sutton said. "And you've got chemical contaminant issues. This is a preventable type of pollution, and it's certainly not something we could encourage to have in the bay."

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2015-05-16 03:56:56 (4 comments, 0 reshares, 10 +1s)Open 

TIL bike shorts evidently have special flatulence filtering powers if you wear them inside out.

Hat tip to bikesnobnyc

TIL bike shorts evidently have special flatulence filtering powers if you wear them inside out.

Hat tip to bikesnobnyc___

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2015-05-15 13:37:14 (19 comments, 9 reshares, 36 +1s)Open 

I shake my fist regularly at the terribly (not) designed flaws in human biology, but this list has one I hadn't seen. The nerve from your brain to your larynx loops through your chest. Think that's bad? We have this in common with other animals, including giraffes. Bonkers. http://blog.eternalvigilance.me/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/giraffe-recurrent-laryngeal-nerve.png

That's before we even get into the bizarre side-effects of pregnancy, like vision changes. Temporary nearsightedness is annoying.

I shake my fist regularly at the terribly (not) designed flaws in human biology, but this list has one I hadn't seen. The nerve from your brain to your larynx loops through your chest. Think that's bad? We have this in common with other animals, including giraffes. Bonkers. http://blog.eternalvigilance.me/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/giraffe-recurrent-laryngeal-nerve.png

That's before we even get into the bizarre side-effects of pregnancy, like vision changes. Temporary nearsightedness is annoying.___

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2015-05-13 20:14:26 (26 comments, 2 reshares, 102 +1s)Open 

My new Privacy jacket is aptly named.

My new Privacy jacket is aptly named.___

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2015-05-11 17:26:01 (11 comments, 1 reshares, 21 +1s)Open 

Sign visible from dock: Do not go near the water
Evidently intended as a salutatory example for everyone watching.

Sign visible from dock: Do not go near the water
Evidently intended as a salutatory example for everyone watching.___

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2015-05-10 02:54:12 (22 comments, 13 reshares, 32 +1s)Open 

Crypto: don't roll your own. This protocol is hilariously broken. The only thing left is to develop an algorithm that only requires pencil and paper.

Crypto: don't roll your own. This protocol is hilariously broken. The only thing left is to develop an algorithm that only requires pencil and paper.___

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