Monday: Buckle up, Buttercup

After my Go-Team-Yay-Space post yesterday, it’s time for a Monday morning reality check. Going to Mars will not be a panacea to our ills, as this darkly humorous animated short, Fired on Mars by Nick and Nate, shows. On the other hand, SpaceX’s Elon Musk offers an upside while acknowledging the inherent risk of space travel and colonization: “If you’re going to choose a place to die, then Mars is probably not a bad choice.”

Certainly beats an undiginified extinction by drowning on earth, eh?

We may not be leaving the planet today, but you’d best buckle up anyhow. This week’s going to be a doozy.

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit
Say that in your best Jan Brady voice — Brexit will suck all the oxygen out of this week’s market news. I’m afraid to look at the stock market at all because of it. Euronews has a roundup on the topic (though I warn you, it’s poorly formatted — keep scrolling down the page and increase print size). I’m not posting any other UK-based links here now because it’s quite obvious each media outlet has a position and their coverage reflects it. Most blatantly obvious are those owned by Rupert Murdoch’s Newsgroup, which has prompted some angry murmurs about an Aussie living in the U.S. telling the UK what to do.

Disturbing: Mexico’s federal police fire on teachers’ protest rally
I say disturbing for two reasons: first, that a democratic government’s federal would fire on protesters supporting the CNTE teachers’ union and actively deny it happened is appalling, and second, that its neighbor’s media would ignore that it happened. Teachers and supporters have been rallying in the state of Oaxaca, protesting the government’s education reform plan, characterized by some as neoliberal. It was clear from the outset that the government was in no mood to listen, given the number of riot police in place. The protests followed the detention/disappearance days earlier by police of CNTE union leaders Francisco Manuel Villalobos Ricardez and Ruben Nuñez. Conditions degraded over the course of the day, with federal police firing upon protesters. Early accounts claimed six were killed, of which one may have been a journalist and two teacher trainees. President Enrique Pena Nieto’s government at first denied there was any violence, and then later claimed the Associated Press’ photos of the violence were false. There were enough social media reports documenting the violence on the ground to neutralize the government’s claim — and thank goodness for social media, or the U.S. would have heard very little if anything about this conflict. Not exactly the fiesta of democracy President Nieto promised when he took office in 2012. For more current information about the conflict, follow hashtags #Nochixtlan (district) and #Oaxaca in Twitter; already the death count is disputed as some claim more than eight died after yesterday’s attack by police on protesters.

It’s extremely important to remember the protesters’ anger and frustration are not merely about the ENP government’s reform plan. The 43 young men who disappeared in 2014 and are believed dead were students at a teachers’ college; the federal police have been implicated in the disappearance of these students. To date, the mass disappearance of these students has not been fully accounted for. Imagine the furor if such a mass disappearance were to happen in the U.S.

Cyber, cyber, cyber
LOL sorry, I’m on a Brady Bunch jag. Forgot to remind you last Tuesday was Patch Tuesday — make sure you’ve updated your Win-based systems if you do so manually. Can’t hurt to check all your other non-Win devices, too.

  • Adobe Flash zero day patch a higher priority than Microsoft’s monthly patch (TechTarget) — Again, if you manually patch, get to this one ASAP. I’m a manual Adobe patcher myself; I don’t automate patching because I want to know exactly how often Adobe must patch their products. It’s annoyingly often.
  • This is your brain on drugs: Too-smart identity thief busted (ABC3340-Birmingham) — Can’t tell if the drugs ate his intelligence, or if they deluded this dude. Read this, it’s like a bad episode of COPS mashed up with Monty Python.
  • SmartTVs not so smart, held ransom by Flocker (TrendLabs) — Leap of ransomware to Android smartTVs perfectly exemplifies the danger of connecting things to the internet. Interesting how this one deactivates based on select country locations. Yet another opportunity to sell protection software, too, as you’ll note in the article.

Your recommended long read: Apple’s Differential Privacy
Crytography expert Matthew Green reviews Apple’s announcement this past week regarding development of “differential privacy,” which Apple defined as:

Starting with iOS 10, Apple is using Differential Privacy technology to help discover the usage patterns of a large number of users without compromising individual privacy. To obscure an individual’s identity, Differential Privacy adds mathematical noise to a small sample of the individual’s usage pattern. As more people share the same pattern, general patterns begin to emerge, which can inform and enhance the user experience. In iOS 10, this technology will help improve QuickType and emoji suggestions, Spotlight deep link suggestions and Lookup Hints in Notes.

This is worth your time to read as differential privacy suggests new approaches to meeting the needs of marketers while preserving the privacy of consumers applying algorithmic solutions. Read it now before this stuff gets really convoluted.

Check your safety harness from time to time. Catch you tomorrow!

4 replies
  1. P J Evans says:

    I have the Flash plugin set to ‘by request only’ – it’s occasionally annoying, but updating Adobe’s stuff is always annoying.

  2. martin says:

    quote”To date, the mass disappearance of these students has not been fully accounted for. Imagine the furor if such a mass disappearance were to happen in the U.S.”unquote

    Furor. Right. The USG incinerated almost 100 men, women AND children at Waco. NO ONE was held accountable. Furor my ass.

    • John Casper says:

      “The USG incinerated almost 100 men, women AND children at Waco. NO ONE was held accountable. Furor my ass.”
      Do you have any evidence that the leaders of the Branch Davidians weren’t in violation of the Sedition Act of 1918?
      “It forbade the use of “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” about the United States government, its flag, or its armed forces or that caused others to view the American government or its institutions with contempt. ”
      Thanks in advance.

  3. Rayne says:

    P J Evans (11:02) — I’m glad Google Chrome and Firefox are being more aggressive shutting off Flash and eventually shutting the door on it for good. Just too damned much risk and hassle.

    martin (2:52) — There was a mess of media coverage at the time, though generally one-sided and nowhere near as detailed as it would have been had there been social media coverage. Don’t you think that’s a critical difference shaping the public’s response then and what their response might have been if Waco happened today? Look how different the reaction to the killing of Mike Brown was within a minority community because of social media.

    Hampered by the lack of social media coverage then, anger about what happened at Waco continues to fuel resentment — your personal ‘furor my ass’ being but the faintest hint at its depth. Why wouldn’t Mexican students and teachers be just as angry as you are two years later AND then some, because they were able to see and share the unfolding attacks this weekend in a way that couldn’t and didn’t happen at and about Waco?

    By the way, your slip is showing. How many unarmed black Americans — children, teens, adults, elderly — have been killed by police since Waco for simply driving/walking/living while black? More than 100 unarmed black men were killed last year alone. Do you feel any anger about that at all? Or is picking off thousands of persons of color okay because the police in this country only do it one at a time, and well, they’re black?

    Accountability? Bah. Like the aftermath of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Freddie Gray–good gravy, I could spend all day naming them, unarmed black-death-by-cop without accountability.

    Pretty sure both this lack of accountability now and lack of accountability going back as far as the 1990s has fueled the political civil wars you see today within the Democratic Party and the GOP. Mills of the gods at work.

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