Behind the Hoverboard Craze (BoingBoing) — Bernstein is interested in this phenomenon as “memeufacturing” — a couple of social-media stars (or garden-variety celebs) post viral videos of themselves using an obscure gadget, and halfway around the world, factories shut down their e-cig lines and convert them, almost overnight, to hoverboard manufacturing lines. Bernstein cites a source who says that there are 1,000 hoverboard factories in South China.
neural-vqa — VIS+LSTM model for Visual Question Answering. Scroll to the end and see the questions it’s answering about photos.
Open Season in Editing Genes of Animals (NY Times) — “We’re going to see a stream of edited animals coming through because it’s so easy,” said Bruce Whitelaw, a professor of animal biotechnology at the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh. “It’s going to change the societal question from, ‘If we could do it, would we want it?’ to, ‘Next year we will have it; will we allow it?’”
RTS AI (PDF) — standard techniques used for playing classic board games, such as game tree search, cannot be directly applied to solve RTS games without the definition of some level of abstraction, or some other simplification. Interestingly enough, humans seem to be able to deal with the complexity of RTS games, and are still vastly superior to computers in these types of games. Talks about the challenges in writing AIs for Real-Time Strategy games.
magspoof — a portable device that can spoof/emulate any magnetic stripe or credit card “wirelessly,” even on standard magstripe readers.
LittleD — open source relational database for embedded devices and sensors nodes.
iondb — open source key-value datastore for resource constrained systems.
Stanford Multicamera Array — 128 cameras, reconfigurable. If the cameras are packed close together, then the system effectively functions as a single-center-of-projection synthetic camera, which we can configure to provide unprecedented performance along one or more imaging dimensions, such as resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, dynamic range, depth of field, frame rate, or spectral sensitivity. If the cameras are placed farther apart, then the system functions as a multiple-center-of-projection camera, and the data it captures is called a light field. Of particular interest to us are novel methods for estimating 3D scene geometry from the dense imagery captured by the array, and novel ways to construct multi-perspective panoramas from light fields, whether captured by this array or not. Finally, if the cameras are placed at an intermediate spacing, then the system functions as a single camera with a large synthetic aperture, which allows us to see through partially occluding environments like foliage or crowds.
uitable — cute library for tabular data in console golang programs.
Did Carnegie Mellon Attack Tor for the FBI? (Bruce Schneier) — The behavior of the researchers is reprehensible, but the real issue is that CERT Coordination Center (CERT/CC) has lost its credibility as an honest broker. The researchers discovered this vulnerability and submitted it to CERT. Neither the researchers nor CERT disclosed this vulnerability to the Tor Project. Instead, the researchers apparently used this vulnerability to deanonymize a large number of hidden service visitors and provide the information to the FBI. Does anyone still trust CERT to behave in the Internet’s best interests? Analogous to the CIA organizing a fake vaccination drive to get close to Osama. “Intelligence” agencies.
Elasticsearch SQL — Query elasticsearch using familiar SQL syntax. You can also use ES functions in SQL. Apache2-licensed.
In Communist China, Tinder Screws You — Chinese Tinder clone Tantan is endangering young women and men by failing to use encryption and exposing private data like that made public in the Ashley Madison hack.
The Advertising Bubble (Maciej Ceglowski) — This is an article-length ad (1) targeted at companies selling software (2) to advertising startups (3) sellling their own ads (4) God knows where, possibly to some publishing startup burning through your grandmother’s pension fund (5,6,7,8). There’s an ad bubble. It’s gonna blow.
Fortran for LLVM — The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and its three national labs today announced they have reached an agreement with NVIDIA’s PGI® software to create an open source Fortran compiler designed for integration with the widely used LLVM compiler infrastructure. Rumor has it the nuclear labs will defer implementation of READ DRUM to later generations.
GIF It Up — very clever remix campaign to use heritage content—Friday is your last day to enter this year’s contest, so get creating! My favourite.
Uber’s Drivers: Information Asymmetries and Control in Dynamic Work — Our conclusions are two-fold: first, that the information asymmetries produced by Uber’s system are fundamental to its ability to structure indirect control over its workers; and second, that Uber relies heavily on the evolving rhetoric of the algorithm to justify these information asymmetries to drivers, riders, as well as regulators and outlets of public opinion.
ANNABELL — unsupervised language learning using artificial neural networks, install your own four year old. The paper explains how.
Spinnaker — an open source, multi-cloud continuous delivery platform for releasing software changes with high velocity and confidence.
Hospital Hacking (Bloomberg) — interesting for both lax regulation (“The FDA seems to literally be waiting for someone to be killed before they can say, ‘OK, yeah, this is something we need to worry about,’ ” Rios says.) and the extent of the problem (Last fall, analysts with TrapX Security, a firm based in San Mateo, Calif., began installing software in more than 60 hospitals to trace medical device hacks. […] After six months, TrapX concluded that all of the hospitals contained medical devices that had been infected by malware.). It may take a Vice President’s defibrillator being hacked for things to change. Or would anybody notice?
TensorFlow — Google released, as open source, their distributed machine learning system. The DataFlow programming framework is sweet, and the documentation is gorgeous. AMAZINGLY high-quality, sets the bar for any project. This may be 2015’s most important software release.
TensorFlow White Paper (PDF) — Compared to DistBelief [G’s first scalable distributed inference and training system], TensorFlow’s programming model is more flexible, its performance is significantly better, and it supports training and using a broader range of models on a wider variety of heterogeneous hardware platforms.
Neural Networks With Few Multiplications — paper with a method to eliminate most of the time-consuming floating point multiplications needed to update the intermediate virtual neurons as they learn. Speed has been one of the bugbears of deep neural networks.
Cybersecurity as RealPolitik — Dan Geer’s excellent talk from 2014 BlackHat. When younger people ask my advice on what they should do or study to make a career in cyber security, I can only advise specialization. Those of us who were in the game early enough and who have managed to retain an over-arching generalist knowledge can’t be replaced very easily because while absorbing most new information most of the time may have been possible when we began practice, no person starting from scratch can do that now. Serial specialization is now all that can be done in any practical way. Just looking at the Black Hat program will confirm that being really good at any one of the many topics presented here all but requires shutting out the demands of being good at any others.
Security and the Linux Kernel (WaPo) — the question is not “can the WaPo write intelligently about the Linux kernel and security?” (answer, by the way, is “yes”) but rather “why is the WaPo writing about Linux kernel and security?” Ladies and gentlemen, start your conspiracy engines.
TPP Might Prevent Governments from Auditing Source Code (Wired) — Article 14.17 of proposal, published at last today after years of secret negotiations, says: “No Party shall require the transfer of, or access to, source code of software owned by a person of another Party, as a condition for the import, distribution, sale or use of such software, or of products containing such software, in its territory.” The proposal includes an exception for critical infrastructure, but it’s not clear whether software involved in life or death situations, such as cars, airplanes, or medical devices would be included. One of many “what the heck does this mean for us?” analyses coming out. I’m waiting a few days until the analyses shake out before I get anything in a tangle.
Taiga — open source agile software project management tool (backlog, kanban, tasks, sprints, burndown charts, that sort of thing). (via Jef Vratny)
Confidant — a secret management system, for AWS, from Lyft. If you build services that need to talk to each other, it quickly gets difficult to distribute and manage permissions to those services. So, naturally, the solution is to add another service. (In accordance with the Fundamental Theorem of Computer Science.)