March 19, 2019

Museo dell Informatica funzionante

Snorrvijoier the viking is back! (VAX 3100/40 online!)

We’re still testing, but it’s almost stable. So, we’re happy to announce that our VAX/VMS 3100/40 is back online! 🙂

To connecti: telnet 17023

First, we tried to check the original hardware. We found 4 bad RAM SIMM. After a while, the motherboard gave us the middle finger and stop working.

So we were forced to use another VAX 3100/40…  in very good conditions! We have plenty of them, fortunately 🙂

Have fun!



L'articolo Snorrvijoier the viking is back! (VAX 3100/40 online!) sembra essere il primo su Museo dell'Informatica Funzionante.

by admin

March 15, 2019 we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the second week of March, 2019.

Elizabeth Warren Proposes Breaking Up Tech Giants Like Amazon
March 08, 2019 (comments)
A politician solicits campaign donations from a select group of public-benefit organizations. Hackernews disagrees with the prospective donor list and would prefer the attention to be directed at organizations they do not work for or worship. After several hours complaining about how much they pay service providers for bad service, Hackernews returns to its natural state: incorrecting each other about economic theory.

Hackers ransack Citrix, make off with 6TB+ of emails, biz docs, secrets
March 09, 2019 (comments)
A company that specializes in centralized remote data access succeeds beyond their wildest imagination. Hackernews realizes the source of some of the information is untrustworthy, but since PHP software is involved it's impossible to tell colossal incompetence from state-backed overt assault. Other Hackernews decide that it's just not possible to avoid getting your shit snatched, and start arguing about how much of the government can be safely delegated to an industry where nobody can be held accountable for their work.

Daydreaming about the future instead of doing work today
March 10, 2019 (comments)
An Internet tells a motivational story about the courage and persistence required to finally live the dream: producing short-run cubicle decorations for people who don't warrant a door. Hackernews is extremely enthusiastic about the "spew bullshit forth like a diarrhetic hippopotamus" approach to personal betterment, and spend the afternoon patting each other on the back for sticking by bad implementations of bad ideas.

Nginx to Be Acquired by F5 Networks
March 11, 2019 (comments)
F5 fires a killshot at their biggest competitor. Hackernews is staggered, fretting about whether it is even possible for software to exist in a fashion not subject to corporate ownership. Frantic recommendations are sought and provided for replacement tools, all of which appear to be caching proxies, and none of which are actual web servers.

Firefox Send: Free encrypted file transfer service
March 12, 2019 (comments)
Mozilla introduces another product that has nothing to do with their only valuable asset. To rectify this oversight, they named it after the web browser anyway. Hackernews is split fairly evenly between people crawling over each other to start using it and people who are correctly terrified of anything in a web browser claiming to be secure. Some Hackernews want to know who is paying for the hosting. The answer is Mozilla, which is to say, Google.

Spotify to Apple: Time to Play Fair
March 13, 2019 (comments)
A company is mad at another company, and makes some webshit containing PR for their incoming complaints to some adults. Hackernews attempts to negotiate the precise depth and vigor with which a computer manufacturer should be allowed to fuck its competitors. Several imaginary users are invented for Hackernews to defend against the relentless onslaught of fraud and theft that reigns supreme in the online payment industry created by Hackernews' employers.

Rudder issue that plagued the Boeing 737 throughout the 1990s
March 14, 2019 (comments)
An Internet recounts one of Boeing's previous attempts to evade responsibility for a flaw in their aircraft. Hackernews nervously hovers around the edges of discussing the concept of professional responsibility, but when the original author shows up to complain that nobody properly accredited the story, Hackernews drops the hot potato and seizes the distraction of lecturing the author that the information was posted to the wrong webshit.


March 14, 2019

Classic Programmer Paintings

“The Open Office” Okumura Masanobu (1686-1764) -...

“The Open Office”

Okumura Masanobu (1686-1764) - Woodblock print with hand-colouring

March 13, 2019

Classic Programmer Paintings

“Junior developer enthused by consultant’s...

“Junior developer enthused by consultant’s explanation of the power of C++ templates”

William Holman Hunt

Oil on canvas, 1854

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK 3x25 - Facebook delenda est

Facebook sposa la privacy e riunirà le messaggistiche di WhatsApp, Messenger e Instagram in un'unica app cifrata end to end. Buona notizia? No. Significa solo che El Supremo controllerà quasi completamente le comunicazioni online di oltre due miliardi di persone. La cifratura? Non riguarda i metadati, che sono quelli che Facebook usa per profilarci e rivenderci a inserzionisti e ficcanaso vari. Facebook è cresciuto troppo e non possiamo permettere che gestisca un potere che sarebbe già problematico se gestito da uno Stato. Facebook va smantellato.

by Walter Vannini

March 12, 2019

Bretton Woods Project

IMF and World Bank decision-making and governance

The gentlemen’s agreement

The historic World Bank and IMF ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ ensures that the IMF managing director is always a European and the World Bank president a US national. While this is not prescribed in the Articles of Agreement of either institution, it dates back to the creation of the institutions, when membership of the IMF and World Bank was to limited to 45 and 38 state respectively following WWII and European powers still retained colonies. Every time the US, for example, nominated a candidate for Bank president, to date, Europe has used its large sway on the Board to vote for its candidate in exchange for the US in turn supporting a European IMF managing director (see Update 76).

The IMF quota system

The voting power within the IMF is determined by a quota formula. The current formula consists of four elements: GDP (50 per cent), openness (30 per cent), economic variability (15 per cent) and international reserves (5 per cent). Quotas are denominated in Special Drawing Rights (SDR), the IMF’s international reserve asset. The value of the SDR is based on a basket of five currencies—the U.S. dollar, the euro, the Chinese renminbi, the Japanese yen, and the British pound sterling (see Observer Winter 2016).

The IMF is required by its Articles of Agreement to review its quotas every five years, so that the distribution of votes is adjusted to the evolving economic weight of the member states. The review addresses two main issues: “the size of an overall increase [in quotas] and the distribution of the increase among members.” They are meant to “assess the adequacy of quotas in terms of members’ balance of payments financing needs and in terms of its own ability to help meet those needs.” Reviews also enable increases in quotas to reflect changes in members’ position in the world economy. The IMF has stipulated that a new quota formula should be discussed in the context of the 15th General Review of Quotas taking place in 2019.

The 15th review was expected to take place in 2015, but was delayed by the US Congress’ failure to approve the 2010 agreement until December 2015 (see Observer Winter 2016). The 2010 reforms, which were made within the context of the 14th review, included a shift of 6.2 per cent of quota shares towards emerging and developing countries, while also doubling the contributions to the Fund from 238.5 billion SDR (about $329.83 billion) to 477 billion SDR (about $659.67 billion). The G24 – the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four on International Monetary Affairs and Development – issued a communiqué in October 2018, which called on the IMF to complete the review (see Dispatch Autumn 2018).

Decision-making at the IMF

The Board of Governors is the IMF’s highest decision-making body and consists of one governor and one alternate governor from each member country, normally the minister of finance or head of the central bank. Although the Board of Governors has delegated much of its decision-making power to the Board of Executive Directors, it retains significant authority, including the approval of quota reforms and amendments to the Articles of Agreement. The Board of Governors also elects the Executive Directors (EDs).

The executive board, which is responsible for daily operations, is chaired by the IMF’s Managing Director and consists of 24 Executive Directors representing member countries through constituencies, though the five largest shareholders (France, Germany, Japan, US and UK ) have historically enjoyed the privilege of directly appointing their own ED. ED constituencies are divided according to quotas with some member countries representing only themselves (this is the case for China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Saudi-Arabia, the UK, and the US), while other EDs represent a block of countries, or constituency. Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, has two EDs representing 46 countries.

Decision-making on the executive board is typically made through consensus with voting kept to a minimum. Votes on substantive issues need 85 per cent approval, granting the US (with its 16.46 per cent quota) effective veto power over any major decisions.

World Bank shareholding

While each of the World Bank’s entities has its own shareholding structure, the World Bank Group has a similar structure to the IMF with a Board of Governors overseeing a Board of Directors made up of the Bank’s president and 25 EDs. Shares are distributed via votes. The five largest shareholders are the US, Japan, Germany, France and China. The president has no voting power on the board, except for a deciding vote when voting is tied. Seven of the 25 ED constituencies are made up of one member (the five biggest shareholders, as well as the, UK and Saudi Arabia), whereas Sub-Saharan Africa is divided into three constituencies, and many Asian constituencies are crowded, for example, in comparison to European counterparts.

The September 2015 shareholding review acknowledged the growing share of developing and transition countries in the world economy, which reached 49.19 per cent of global GDP, when measured by a blend of market rates and purchasing power parity, between 2012 and 2014. In line with this the Bank expects the voting share of developing countries to increase to 52.76 per cent when all the capital subscriptions come in.

Furthermore, following the April 2018 Report to Governors on Shareholding at the Spring Meetings 2018 prepared by the World Bank Group from the Development Committee meeting, recommendations were made for China’s shareholding in IBRD to increase to 6.01 per cent from 4.68 per cent, and the U.S. share would drop to 16.77 per cent from 16.89 per cent (see Dispatch Spring 2018 , Observer Winter 2018)

Evaluation and Accountability

The IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) was set up in 2001 to conduct objective evaluations of the policies and functionalities of the institution from an arm’s length, with the aims of enhancing the learning culture, strengthening credibility, and supporting institutional governance and oversight.

On the World Bank’s side, the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) was created in 2006, integrating several individual accountability mechanisms, and is charged with objectively evaluating the activities of the entire World Bank Group. In 1993 the Bank established the Inspection Panel (IP), its independent accountability mechanism (IAM). A separate IAM was created in 1999 for the International Financial Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private sector investment arm, the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO).

Legal accountability

International institutions like the Bank have traditionally claimed to have immunity from US-based court proceedings in relation to international policies and programmes. However, in February 2019, the US Supreme Court ruled that the IFC is “not absolutely immune from suit” as it can be held liable in the United States under the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act for “commercial activity which has a sufficient nexus to the United States.” Questions remain as to what counts as commercial activity and what precisely constitutes a sufficient nexus between IFC-financed programmes overseas and US-based activities (See Observer Spring 2019).

Civil society demands for reform

While some civil society demands have been met – such as the publication of Executive Board agendas and executive summaries of board meetings – a host of calls for reform are yet to be met (see Update 33).

Double majority voting
Civil society has historically demanded a change in decision-making through the introduction of double majority voting to the IMF, where agreement requires both shareholder and member state majorities, thus giving developing countries a larger part in decision-making (see At Issue 2007).

Under double-majority voting, decisions would require the majority of both the number of IMF and World Bank members and their voting share, and the thresholds for decision-making should be equal for both types of majorities. Simple majority decisions would then require approval by more than 50 per cent of the voting share and more than 50 per cent of the membership, and super majority decisions would require either 70 per cent or 85 per cent of both the voting share and membership. In decisions taken at the executive board level, an Executive Director would cast votes for its constituency based on the sum of the voting weight of the members of the constituency and the sum of the number of members of the constituency. The Executive Board should commit to following this procedure immediately while the necessary amendments to the articles of agreement are approved by the Fund and Bank membership.

End the gentlemen’s agreement
Civil society has long pointed out that the Fund and Bank continue to undermine their legitimacy by adhering to the gentlemen’s agreement on the BWIs’ leadership positions. The introduction of a transparent process for selecting the heads of both organisations should involve low and middle-income member states and significant stakeholder groupings, and assess candidates on merit, regardless of their nationality.

Increase transparency
Current transcripts and minutes of World Bank and IMF Board meetings should be published so that parliamentarians, civil society groups, academics and others can see who is taking what positions at these important institutions. Any exceptions to this principle should be narrowly drawn and based on a clear indication of harm that would result from disclosure of specific information. Furthermore, Board members should express their position with formal votes, rather than informal indications of a position (see Update 33).

Reform the structure of the Board

Calls have been made for a reallocation of Board seats and votes to ensure that all member countries are fairly able to represent themselves and that creditor and borrower countries have an equal allocation of votes. Furthermore, demands have been made that there should be no more than 10 countries per constituency, and for a rotation of Board members among different countries in any given constituency (see Update 33, see Observer Winter 2018)

Arguments have furthermore been made that no one country should have a veto on any decisions (see Update 33).

Increase staff diversity
Civil society has pointed to the lack of diversity in the Fund and Bank staff, calling for increased geographical representation. For example, between 1980 and 2000, 74 per cent of all senior IMF staff appointees had been educated in the US and UK, and 40 per cent had been trained at 10 elite universities in those two countries. As of 2017, among “B-level” staff – from division chiefs to department directors – 5.4 per cent were from Sub-Saharan Africa, 4.8 per cent from East Asia and 6 per cent from the Middle East and North Africa.

Saying farewell to mission creep
Civil society has called for the renegotiation of the Relationship Agreements between the IMF, World Bank and the UN to clarify the responsibilities of the IMF and World Bank to the UN and enhance the ability of the UN to ensure that international financial institutions fully respect the jurisdiction of other agencies, funds and bodies and to ensure the Bank and Fund’s human rights responsibilities are clarified (see Update 33).

Improve accountability mechanisms
The Bank and Fund have been criticised for failing to implement the recommendations of the IEG and IEO, respectively. In the case of the Bank, this reflects larger criticisms of it having an insular, self-referential approach to knowledge production, which – according to the landmark Deaton Report published in 2006 – sometimes borders on ‘parody’ (see Observer Summer 2018). Meanwhile, a third independent evaluation of the IEO itself published in 2018 found that the IEO’s recommendations continue to ‘lack traction’ within the Fund (see Observer Autumn 2018), echoing the findings of the first and second evaluations of the IEO.

Moreover, in November 2018, CSOs stressed that the current IPN system suffers from a conflict of interest inherent in the delegation of monitoring responsibility to management, and called on the Bank Executive Board to use the review of the IPN to ensure that the Panel is provided a monitoring function, as it is now the only IAM lacking this essential role. Furthermore, participants suggested that the board consider the establishment of independent, community-led, monitoring arrangement (see Observer Winter 2018).

Open up policy space
The issue of political power imbalances is exacerbated by another long-standing critique of the Bank and Fund; that the structural, macroeconomic policy conditions (conditionality) attached to some of their loans undermine the sovereignty of lending governments to make their own policy decisions, their policy space, and their ownership of national development strategies. Despite efforts to ‘streamline’ the number of conditions in the face of severe criticisms, in 2018, the number of conditions attached to each IMF loan programme was found to be on the rise, once again raising concerns around the restriction of policy space for developing countries.


by Miriam Brett

Classic Programmer Paintings

“The dangers of C++ templates: senior dev consoles junior...

“The dangers of C++ templates: senior dev consoles junior with module that won’t compile after fruitless all-night attempt to deduce the actual problem from the first volume of compiler error messages”

Frank Bramley

Oil on canvas, 1888

March 11, 2019

Bretton Woods Project

Gender Just-Macroeconomics II

On the first day of the sixty-third UN Commission on the Status of Women, the Bretton Woods Project has launched a booklet on Gender-Just Macroeconomics: The World Bank’s Privatisation Push. This year’s CSW priority theme is social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Despite the narrative presented by the World Bank and others that privatising infrastructure and social services, particularly in the form of public-private partnerships, is means of advancing gender equality in low- and middle-income countries, it can disproportionately harm women and deepen existing gender inequalities.

Governments have a duty to meet social needs through the provision of public goods, including infrastructure and social services, which are vital for supporting gender equality and women’s rights. Privatisation can increase costs and risks of infrastructure and services, and weaken accountability.

This booklet aims to support gender-justice advocates by outlining how privatisation can undermine women’s rights, how the World Bank is shaping the privatisation agenda and how women’s rights groups can hold the Bank to account.

Find the full booklet here. Want to receive the printed version by post for free? Just let us know.

This booklet has been produced as part of the Gender Equality and Macroeconomics project, a joint project of the Bretton Woods Project and the Gender and Development Network. It is the second in a series about gender-just macroeconomics aimed at supporting women´s rights organisations. For the first booklet in the series, see Gender-just macroeconomics: Engaging the IMF and World Bank.

by Isabel Alvarez

Classic Programmer Paintings

“ Running ‘terraform destroy -auto-approve’...

“ Running ‘terraform destroy -auto-approve’ against production ”

Jean Duplessis-Bertaux, Date Unknown

March 10, 2019

Classic Programmer Paintings

“Social media respect for privacy" Francisco Goya oil on...

“Social media respect for privacy"
Francisco Goya
oil on canvas
c. 1797

March 09, 2019

Classic Programmer Paintings

“Hoare reconsiders the null reference” Caspar David...

“Hoare reconsiders the null reference”

Caspar David Friedrich

oil on canvas

c. 1818

[as previously tweeted by @miner]

March 08, 2019 we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the first week of March, 2019.

Lyft Files S-1
March 01, 2019 (comments)
Lyft (business model: "Uber for cars") declares that it's a real company run by human adults. Hackernews, of course, immediately enters into a protracted argument regarding whether Lyft is giving too much money to Amazon Web Services, not enough money, or exactly the right amount of money. Another group of Hackernews is impressed that executives at the company sometimes work for the company; while Hackernews assumes this is to engender a better understanding of the lives of drones, it's more likely they were just supplementing their Uber income. The rest of the comments are trying to work out how much money everyone has.

Teen Becomes First Hacker to Earn $1M Through Bug Bounties
March 02, 2019 (comments)
An Internet uses computers for money. Hackernews is mad that sometimes people trick them out of getting paid for similar work. Other Hackernews are mad that people try to trick them into paying for similar work. The rest of the comments are from people trying to become qualified to do similar work.

The password “ji32k7au4a83” has been seen over a hundred times
March 03, 2019 (comments)
An Internet discovers that dipshittery crosses cultural boundaries. Hackernews enumerates every single bad password they've ever selected, and expresses some surprise that hipster keyboard layouts cannot save them. The largest thread is about which pirated software license keys make the worst passwords. Some Hackernews are angry that people on Twitter have opinions that are not about computers. The rest of the comments are people linking to, describing, or demanding implementation of that XKCD comment with the bad password advice.

HIV Is Reported Cured in a Second Patient
March 04, 2019 (comments)
A bone-marrow transplant from an immune donor renders an HIV patient virus-free. Hackernews doesn't have anything productive to say about it, so they trade anecdotes about how shitty people were to AIDS victims in the 1990s.

Ghidra, NSA's reverse-engineering tool
March 05, 2019 (comments)
The National Security Agency would like to show off one of its less interesting toys. Hackernews is excited, as this toy is significantly less expensive than similar toys they already had. The rest of Hackernews doesn't think anything can hold a candle to the other toys, and is suspicious of anyone who thinks otherwise.

U.S. users are leaving Facebook by the millions, Edison Research says
March 06, 2019 (comments)
Some nerds suspect that Facebook experienced a slight engagement decrease in one of its mid-tier markets. Hackernews never used Facebook, stopped using it years ago, can't stop using it, or demands everyone else use it more. Extremely detailed reasons are provided for each of these positions, but they are identical to the ones posted on all past Facebook-related stories.

Notepad++ drops code signing for its releases
March 07, 2019 (comments)
An internet is not invited to participate in Microsoft's security theater. Hackernews debates whether it is appropriate to outsource trust to Microsoft, or whether it is the purity of the developer's intention that counts. The rest of the comments are various Hackernews recounting the trials they undertook to attain sufficient worthiness that Microsoft may shrive them unto your PC, or other Hackernews nailing their ninety-five theses to the bathroom door in the lobby of Microsoft HQ.


Classic Programmer Paintings

“Clojure programmer at work” Henri Lebasque...

“Clojure programmer at work”

Henri Lebasque (1865-1937)

oil on canvas

[as previously tweeted by @miner]

March 07, 2019

Classic Programmer Paintings

“Developers foraging for business...

“Developers foraging for business requirements.”

Unknown Artist - Oil on Canvas


March 06, 2019

Classic Programmer Paintings

“Vice President of Engineering chooses a new team lead” Joseph...

“Vice President of Engineering chooses a new team lead”

Joseph Ducreux - Oil on canvas (1846)

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK 3x24 - Nonchalance

Cosa succede quando rubano i dati personali, abbastanza per rubare le identità di centinaia di mililoni di persone? Scandalo? Disperazione? Manager che saltano dalla finestra? Sbagliato. La risposta è: nonchalance.

by Walter Vannini

March 03, 2019

Zero Days

La prima lezione di Informatica Giuridica in Università di Milano

La prima lezione di Informatica Giuridica in Università di Milano è solitamente dedicata alla comprensione della natura di questa disciplina e ad alcune distinzioni fondamentali utili al giurista che si avvicina a questa materia.

In questo podcast descrivo l'evoluzione della materia attraverso i processi più importanti e i fenomeni tecnologici più attuali.

by Giovanni Ziccardi

March 01, 2019

Museo dell Informatica funzionante

Medialab is back!

It’s a great pleasure for us to announce that medialab, our own historical server, is back online, and can be reached again via SSH at (login: luther pw: luther).

Medialab was created in Catania in 1997/98 within the CSOA “Auro” squat; it provided UNIX accounts and email boxes to anybody asking for it. Since then, it has been online 24/7. Due to some financial issues, we recently had to discontinue our DSL contract, so medialab remained down for about 7 months.

Thanks to Sirius Technology, who sponsored a DSL line for two years, medialab is finally back online.

The old Compaq Deskpro had started showing some hardware issues, so we decided to “upgrade” the system without using anything produced after 2003: no software installed on medialab or hardware used in medialab is more recent than that. Now medialab runs on a Thinkpad T23, its kernel has been upgraded from 2.2.19 to 2.4.37 (so we can use USB drives) and a few tools have been updated (to 2003!). Among other things, the Anatolia MUD server is back online as well (telnet 6001 to play), of which we recovered the old backups with all the original characters (so if you still remember your password you can restart playing exactly where you left years ago 🙂 ).

Due to the increasingly large number of dumbasses around the Internet, we unfortunately had to forbid telnet access and allow only SSH. It is really unbelievable to see so many portscans and break-in attempts despite the clearly says that access to the machine is free (quoting username and password for luther…).

If you want a personal account on medialab, just email

Some historical info about Freaknet Medialab:


L'articolo Medialab is back! sembra essere il primo su Museo dell'Informatica Funzionante.

by admin we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the last week of February, 2019.

A Heavily-Commented Linux Kernel Source Code [pdf]
February 22, 2019 (comments)
An academic describes a MINIX clone for Intel processors. Inevitably, Hackernews starts talking about Lions' Commentary on UNIX, despite this book and that having completely different intent and approach. Other Hackernews complain that this particular book contains too much information: a capital offense. Another whines about the file format. Most of the comments are about the picture on the cover. Amazingly, no technology is discussed; since this is a technical book, the vote:comment ratio is damn near 20:1.

Cleave.js – Format input text content when you are typing
February 23, 2019 (comments)
A webshit fucks up some text boxes. Hackernews don't like when webshits fuck up text boxes, and invoke the scariest of boogiemen: hypothetical lost revenue. Other Hackernews also don't like this ridiculous garbage, but implement it anyway because they were told to. The software in question and the Hackernews debate about it are a valuable glimpse into why everything you do with a web browser is worse each month than it was the month before.

My Twitch Live Coding Setup
February 24, 2019 (comments)
Some asshole, with nearly Wolfram-level self-absorption, goes into gruesome detail to describe exactly how to construct a dystopian attention-gathering hellbox. The picture it paints is the saddest thing I have ever seen on the internet. Hackernews gets sucked into an inquest into the ontological implications of demanding an audience of strangers for every moment of your working day. Other Hackernews complain that some minute detail was elided.

Sunlight through glass does not provide Vitamin D
February 25, 2019 (comments)
An idiot wants to know how glass works, and turns to the world's leading authority on human physiology: the New York Times. Hackernews thinks you should have windows anyway, and feels the need to justify this opinion. Half of the comments are from people afraid of sunlight. The other half are arguments about which pills you can eat to make up for being a cave troll. Since the topic is not technology, but (pseudo)medicine, Hackernews has a shitload to say -- vote-to-comment ratio hovers right around 2:1. Almost all of it is wrong, but that's fine since all of it is irrelevant to functioning human adults.

Redis Turns 10 – How it started with a single post on Hacker News
February 26, 2019 (comments)
Hackernews celebrates the decennial anniversary of a database so bad that almost all of its use is as a message queue. Hackernews explores the idea of a program being completed, instead of an endless churn of Github issues and conference talks with stick figure illustrations. Hackernews lines up to relate stories about how wonderful the software is, then the next line is for them to reminisce about the first time their server got hacked because they were running it.

Immersive Linear Algebra (2016)
February 27, 2019 (comments)
Some academics port a math textbook to javascript. Hackernews has also written books, and proceeds to link to all of them, and complain about how hard it is to write a book. Other Hackernews complain about not knowing enough math, and then the pedagogy debate club arrives to bikeshed the javascript mathematics text.

UC terminates subscriptions with Elsevier in push for open access
February 28, 2019 (comments)
The University of California notices a great public relations spin available to cover a cost-saving measure. Hackernews enumerates all of the websites they use to download papers otherwise unavailable without rent-seeking bureaucracy, then proceeds to list all of the other organizations that are charging too much to publish. The rest of the comments are Hackernews explaining 19th-century publishing industry economics. Based on the comment threads, the reason Hackernews can't seem to get a business off the ground is because they spend all their time playing Pokemon with niche journal articles.


February 28, 2019

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK 3x23 - Deep Everything

Prima Photoshop, poi i video DeepFake, adesso l'Intelligenza Artificiale scrive come gli autori originali... dove andremo a finire signora mia?

by Walter Vannini

February 27, 2019

Evgeny Morozov

The left needs to get radical on big tech – moderate solutions won't cut it | Evgeny Morozov

Radical democratic transformation seeks to empower those that have been excluded from the leading roles in the digital economy

To note that the “techlash” – our rude and abrupt awakening to the mammoth powers of technology companies – is gaining force by the month is to state the obvious. Amazon’s sudden departure from New York City, where it was planning to open a second headquarters, attests to the rapidly changing political climate. The New Yorkers, apparently, have no desire to spend nearly $3bn in subsidies in order to lure Amazon – a company that, on making $11.2bn in profits in 2018, has paid no tax and even managed to book $129m in tax rebates.

Ignored in most accounts of the growing anti-Silicon Valley sentiment is the incongruence of the political and ideological forces behind the techlash. To paraphrase a Russian classic: while all the happy apologists of big tech are alike, all its critics are unhappy in their own way. These critics, united by their hatred of the digital giants, do make short-term tactical alliances; such arrangements, however, cannot hold in the long term.

Related: Why US rightwing populists and their global allies disagree over Big Tech | Evgeny Morozov

This third approach questions the adequacy of treating data and artificial intelligence as commodities

Evgeny Morozov is the author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom and a Guardian US columnist

Continue reading...

by Evgeny Morozov

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK 3x22 - Il diavolo nei dettagli

Tutta questa innovazione digitale, le meravigliose tecnologie... Ma i dettagli raccontano una storia diversa.

by Walter Vannini

February 26, 2019

Riccardo Orioles

Per chi votano gli italiani

L’Italia, come sapete, è uno dei paesi più onesti del mondo, tanto onesto che gli italiani, terrorizzati, appena vedono un non-italiano lo cacciano per tema di esserne contaminati. L’Italia è un paese democratico e dunque, ogni tanti anni, gli italiani vanno a votare. Bene. Per chi votano gli italiani?

Gli italiani votano preferenzialmente per i ladri. Oppure per i mafiosi, o per i ladri mafiosi, comunque per gente di cui è certo che un giorno o l’altro finiranno in galera. I presidenti delle due regioni più importanti, Lombardia e Sicilia, eletti a furor di popolo e incontrastati per anni, hanno fatto esattamente questa fine. Sembra vicino a farla il già sindaco di Roma.

Cuffaro, Formigoni, Alemanno non sono dei casi individuali, delle patologie. Sono esattamente il ritratto della nazione. La violenta Sicilia e l’industriosa Lombardia – nord e sud – nonché la famosa capitale del regno, hanno votato – nella diversità delle etichette – esattamente alla stessa maniera. Viva i corrotti e abbasso i fessi: così hanno deciso i cittadini votanti, e la galera dei primi non ha affatto scoraggiato il trionfo dei successivi.

La Sardegna, in confronto, non è che un episodio minore, facilmente spiegabile coi tradizionali meccanismi politici d’Italia. Dove, pochi anni fa, il popolo aveva massicciamente votato per un onesto socialdemocratico – Bersani – e per una banda di confusionari ma onesti ribelli che a gran voce invocavano Rodotà, Gino Strada e Imposimato. Il capo dello Stato – del tipo Napolitano o Cossiga – si rifiutò categoricamente di incaricare un governo di conseguenza; Bersani venne accoltellato dai suoi stessi compagni, i ribelli si buttarono machiavellicamente a destra; gli elettori di entrambi rimasero lì a bocca aperta ed entrambi i partiti cominciarono a sciogliersi come neve al sole. La colpa era dell’ “e allora il piddì”, del maledetto populismo peppegrillesco, dei negri, dei maledetti francesi, dell’Europa: finì come doveva finire, coi capi dei due schieramenti col pugno di mosche in mano e col popolo sempre più imbarbarito alla ricerca rabbiosa di nuovi capi espiatori.

Tutta questa tragedia, che ci ha scaraventato all’Occidente al Visegrad e dagli “italiani brava gente” a una caricatura grottesca della Bassa Sassonia, è tuttavia minore rispetto all’altra, meno immediatamente drammatica ma più profonda, che si compendia negli eletti del popolo ufficialmente ridotti, in rappresentanza del popolo, a avanzi di galera.

Traditi i vecchi che lavorando e soffrendo avevano ricostruito il Paese, traditi i giovani che scappano ovunque purché sia altrove, è la questione morale che ucciderà l’Italia, che forse l’ha già uccisa.

L'articolo Per chi votano gli italiani proviene da Il Fatto Quotidiano.

by Riccardo Orioles

February 22, 2019 we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the third week of February, 2019.

Don’t Get Clever with Login Forms
February 15, 2019 (comments)
A webshit lectures other webshits about all the cute garbage they use to make simple tasks take longer. While the article is specifically about these tricks ruining password managers, the webshit disease is sufficiently advanced as to render the author seemingly oblivious to the fact that this kind of shit also ruins every other aspect of every commercial website on the internet. Hackernews sagely advises webshits to stop reinventing computer interfaces, recommending instead that we should implement standardized interfaces and then progressively destroy them with javascript.

Going Solo, Successfully
February 16, 2019 (comments)
Another webshit posts the same set of advice everyone else has posted about starting a business. Hackernews compares this article to received wisdom of the Hackernews Beauty Pageant, and sounds the alarm when some of it doesn't line up. No technology is discussed.

Flightradar24 – how it works
February 17, 2019 (comments)
An Internet thinks that everyone who travels by airplane also obsesses about the specific location of the plane while they are not on it. Hackernews bikesheds the summary of how the website gathers information, then whines about the operators not releasing the data. The rest of the comments are people arguing about relevant laws and reinventing aircraft transponders from first principles.

I took 50k images of the night sky to make an 81 Megapixel image of the moon
February 18, 2019 (comments)
A Reddit took a lot of photographs and made one large mosaic. Hackernews rehosts the file a few times, argues about what software they should use to host, download, and look at the file, recommends other files to look at, and then argues about which Google webshit provides the best way to see the moon.

Leukemia Has Won
February 19, 2019 (comments)
An Internet, succumbing to illness, bids farewell. Hackernews mostly bitches about the phrasing of the article, but a few Hackernews instead decide this is the right platform for their weird-ass opinions on the scientific method.

U.S. Supreme Court Puts Limits on Police Power to Seize Private Property
February 20, 2019 (comments)
Someone in the United States federal government notices that the law may not in fact allow cops to just steal shit from people, which comes as a surprise to the cops. It is to be hoped that this ruling does not halt civil forfeiture; deprived of their favorite sport, police will have nothing to do other than pursue their second-favorite sport: murdering civilians. Since no technology is discussed, Hackernews explodes with weeks of pent-up armchair legal opinions, and gleefully spends the day incorrecting each other about the intersection of states' rights and the Constitution of the United States.

COI – Chat Over IMAP
February 21, 2019 (comments)
A pack of deranged maniacs finally unearths the worst possible communications protocol. The XMPP Memorial Society gets super pissy about it. Hackernews separates into partisan fire teams and skirmishes over which shitty protocol is the obviously-correct solution. I was going to write a joke about switching this chat service to using JMAP as a backend, but several Hackernews suggested it as an actual desire.


February 20, 2019

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK 3x21 - Il nuovo petrolio

Si dice spesso che i dati personali siano il nuovo petrolio, ma è una metafora sbagliata. I dati personali non sono una proprietà. I dati personali sono persone.

by Walter Vannini

February 16, 2019

February 15, 2019

Bretton Woods Project

Open letter to the World Bank Group Board of Executive Directors

The selection of the new World Bank president takes place amid a crisis of multilateralism reflected in the ascent of anti-establishment and nationalist parties and increased trade tensions. These arise from persistent challenges to the world economy ranging from the growing inequality crisis, the increasing importance of finance, financial markets, and financial institutions in the economy, a looming debt crisis and increased corporate capture that is resulting in the erosion of states’ sovereignty and their ability to meet their human rights obligations. These trends are exacerbated by the quickly evolving climate change crisis, which threatens the livelihoods of the poorest around the globe.

The World Bank requires a leader able and willing to critically assess the role the Bank can play in challenging the failed model that has led us here. The next president must ensure the institution leads by example and uses its privileged position to articulate the need for radical change. More than ever the World Bank requires a president who is qualified to lead what is still the world’s principal public development bank.

It is therefore imperative that the selection process results in the appointment of the best candidate, chosen from a wide-ranging pool of people with the background and experience required.

One thing is certain, at a time when the legitimacy of international institutions is increasingly under attack, reliance on the previous process, where the US and its European allies work behind closed doors to ensure the selection of a US World Bank president in exchange for the European leadership of the IMF will only further erode confidence in the multilateral system. It is of vital importance therefore that the next president has the support of the majority of low and middle-income countries, to which World Bank lending is restricted.

by Isabel Alvarez we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the second week of February, 2019.

PostgreSQL used fsync incorrectly for 20 years
February 08, 2019 (comments)
The headline is inaccurate; PostgreSQL still uses fsync incorrectly. Hackernews recounts all the times the PostgreSQL development team has rejected simple fixes for this and other bugs. Other Hackernews debate whether the filesystem should lie to the userspace applications, the kernel, both, or neither. Most of the comments, of course, are Hackernews incorrecting each other with how filesystems work at all, complete with shitty ASCII diagrams.

Google terminated our business via our Google Play Developer Account
February 09, 2019 (comments)
Google shitcans some moron's shovelware, then reneges after mild social media attention. Hackernews speculates on the incentives that might cause a moron to nail their flag to someone else's mast, then spends a few hours armchair-lawyering the Google terms and conditions. The core question of the day, however, is just how the hell anyone is supposed to survive if they can't use AdSense?

On Being a Principal Engineer
February 10, 2019 (comments)
A programmer at a spamhouse is transported to a world where people are not judged by the color scheme of their Atom window, but by the character assessment and culture fit reports they write about potential new hires. Hackernews spends a lot of time discussing how to bullshit people like the author into hiring them. A few Hackernews struggle with the knowledge that there are people who contribute to business without involving Git. Furious debates about "title inflation" break out amongst people who type javascript into computers and straight-facedly refer to themselves as "engineers".

Google Docs gets an API for task automation
February 11, 2019 (comments)
Google places yet another football for Charlie Brown to kick. The press release authors could not think of any reason for anyone to give a shit, so they namedrop fashionable Valley companies instead. Hackernews enjoys similar tools for making end runs around their coworkers. The rest of the comments are priest-led Praising of the Holy Google, followed by the ritual bitching about identically bug-ridden webshit from non-Google providers.

SQL: One of the most valuable skills
February 12, 2019 (comments)
A database administrator thinks that database shit is the most important shit. Hackernews completely agrees, and breathlessly extolls the wonders of technology designed to enable people to access information. The original article is nearly content-free, so Hackernews pitches in by arguing about which fundamental mathematical theory obviously underpins SQL. Here and there, random Hackernews pair off to have brief Big-Data-related pissing matches.

Why can’t a bot tick the 'I'm not a robot' box?
February 13, 2019 (comments)
A simple question results in The Gospel According to Some Dipshit, illustrating to the Philistines the wisdom and divinity of the Lord your Google. Hackernews upvotes the shit out of this testament, even though one of the other answers was written by the creator of the fucking technology being described. The Anointed Answer is sufficiently nontechnical that Hackernews comes streaming out of the walls and forms two ranks: those who love and fear the Lord their Google, and those who are annoyed by how shitty CAPTCHAs are. The battle is without end.

Amazon Pulls Out of Planned New York City Campus
February 14, 2019 (comments)
Amazon does not build a building. Amazon frequently does not build buildings, but now it is news, because Amazon said it was going to build a building this time. Hackernews totally saw this coming, and is perfectly willing to explain their reasoning, which is totally unassailable and directly in conflict with their previous analysis from back when Amazon said they would build a building.


February 14, 2019

Bretton Woods Project

The IMF and Gender Equality: Operationalising Change

Find the full briefing here.

The objective of this briefing is to stimulate debate and raise critical questions on the latest developments in the IMF’s approach to gender, both between civil society communities and within the IMF itself. It sets the IMF’s latest work against the background of long-standing feminist thinking, with the aim of encouraging the Fund to be ambitious in genuinely and meaningfully addressing feminist concerns in its work. A central question running throughout the thinking behind this briefing is, ‘What is the appropriate role of the IMF in creating an enabling macroeconomic environment for women’s rights and gender equality?’, building on BWP’s previous work in its Gender Equality and Macroeconomics Project.

Following from these analyses, this briefing argues that the emphasis of the IMF’s gender work should lay squarely with addressing the ways in which its own ‘bread-and-butter’ macroeconomic policies undermine gender equality and women’s rights, rather than pro-actively pursuing new policy areas. In this context, the development of new IMF guidance on gender to its staff, in particular its paragraph 26, which recognises the IMF’s own policy advice can exacerbate gender inequality, is a welcome development in the Fund’s evolving understanding of the relationship between gender equality and macroeconomic policy.

Yet, the new guidance and latest IMF gender work do leave many questions unanswered and raise some new concerns:

  • Macro-criticality for gender and economic inequalities remains an unclear standard, leaving the Fund’s approach ad-hoc and unsystematic.
  • The econometric model developed by the IMF to measure gendered impacts of its conventional policy advice as applied to Argentina offers only a very narrow glimpse of the incredibly complex question on measuring adverse gendered impacts of macroeconomic policies. The guidance remains unclear as to which components of the economy it should analyse, which policies it should be applied to and raises myriad concerns about its scaled-up, sustained application in practice.
  • The guidance also remains unclear as to what types of alternative policies IMF staff should consider to avoid exacerbating gender inequality, while early indications point to a very constrained menu of options. Further guidance on what may constitute mitigating measures also remains lacking, although standard policy prescriptions to mitigate negative gendered impacts by further targeting social protection schemes are clearly inadequate.

More broadly, if determining harm is not done in a comprehensive way, and alternatives are defined in only the very narrowest sense, the IMF risks its gender work being perceived as merely another exercise in ‘co-option’, whereby the language of women’s economic empowerment is deployed as just another branding strategy to disguise regressive policies as progressive ones. The guidance’s recognition that the Fund’s own policies can indeed exacerbate gender inequality, which it concedes can be critical to the fulfillment of its mandate, marks a point of no return and must be the start of a significant and meaningful policy shift.

Find the full briefing here.

This briefing has been produced as part of the Gender Equality and Macroeconomics project, a joint project of the Bretton Woods Project and the Gender and Development Network.

by Emma Burgisser

February 10, 2019


Atenas, para fugarse del sótano del mundo

Atenas, para fugarse del sótano del mundo

A propósito de la última película de César Gonzalez, Atenas.

A modo de respuesta activa frente al ajuste creciente hacia el cine
independiente de ficción y documental emergen nuevas películas que crean
y recrean la producción audiovisual. Como un "cross a la mandíbula" a
los tanques de Hollywood y las carreras al Oscar que por estos días
ocupan las páginas de los suplementos de espectáculos, Atenas, de
César Gonzalez, aparece en las pantallas con un cine propio, rabioso,
urgente y a la vez pensado en todos sus elementos de lenguaje.

Una joven, Perséfones (Débora González), sale de la cárcel pero su
camino no la conduce a la libertad. Salir a la calle, buscar vivienda,
laburo, comida, son laberintos cerrados en una sociedad en donde la
explotación de una clase sobre otra rige todos los aspectos, y si dentro
de esa situación se nace mujer, la opresión se duplica. La solidaridad y
la esperanza vienen desde abajo, en quienes viven las mimas
experiencias. Juana será quien marque este camino junto a otros
personajes que están en la misma y dejan claro que nada se puede esperar
de los sectores del poder, su Estado y sus representantes.

La película destaca un gran trabajo en la caracterización de los
personajes. Los pibes y pibas del barrio conocen de las experiencias de
encierro, violencia policial, desocupación y maltrato, la interpretación
es fresca, transparente alejada de todos los estereotipos y
exageraciones que se ven a diario en series de tv o películas “con
contenido social”. Los personajes que ocupan alguna posición de poder,
sea en el Estado, como pequeños o grandes patrones, y hasta quizá con
alguna idea “progre”, se demuestran también en forma transparente y así
se descubren sus miserias. El trato humano marca esta opresión de clase,
“vos te victimizás” le dice una psicóloga del Patronato a quien es
justamente una víctima; “¡ustedes no saben trabajar!”, acusa un patrón a
los pintores mientras se toma un trago junto a su amigo proxeneta;
“¿podés calmar este bebé?”, pide una madre a la niñera mientras sigue
con sus ejercicios de meditación en el jardín, y así… En esta sociedad
está claro quién da las órdenes. César reflexiona que construyeron estos
personajes “Un poco por el cansancio de la hegemonía de la
representación en el perdón que se le brinda siempre a la
caracterización de los burgueses en el cine… se amaga a ridiculizarlos
pero se los termina complejizando, y para mí esa supuesta complejización
es una muestra de complicidad”; por otro lado, en relación a las clases
populares y las minorías, “allí se ridiculiza más que de lo que se
complejiza, toda minoría es representada con una uniformidad de
sentimientos muy obscena”.

Por eso Perse, de pocas palabras, trasmite con sus gestos, su mirada y
sus silencios; pequeños diálogos cotidianos cuentan mejor que extensos
parlamentos. Como una forma de destacar gestos y rostros, en distintos
momentos se incorpora un recurso narrativo en donde se rompe el raccord,
es decir, durante un diálogo la imagen corta a planos cortos de rostros
en silencio y así se produce un extrañamiento, una forma de develar la
poesía en la realidad.

El recorrido de la película, como lo sugiere el título y el nombre de su
protagonista que remite a la mitología, es el de una tragedia griega.
También hay otra relación, la civilización antigua donde se desarrolló
la filosofía y el arte, la ciencia y la democracia, creció a costa del
trabajo esclavo, con seres humanos considerados como bestias. Y en este
sentido César se pregunta "¿Cuán lejos estamos hoy de eso?". La acción y
las imágenes que construye Atenas interpelan el presente, la
esclavitud moderna como continuación de una historia de siglos.

En el texto que difunde la película se abren una serie de interrogantes.
“¿Es posible fugarse del sótano del mundo? ¿Deja el hombre a la mujer
soñar? ¿No es una pesadilla si además de mujer naciste pobre y recién
salís de la cárcel?”. Porque hay un sistema que conspira contra
cualquier gesto, contra cualquier voluntad, y esto está presente en cada

La propia realización de la película se transforma entonces en un
desafío a esta realidad. César Gonzalez, que nació en 1989 en la Villa
Carlos Gardel y estuvo 5 años en prisión, se hizo cineasta y construyó
un equipo con muchos de sus amigos y vecinos. Los actores de Atenas
vienen trabajando en las películas anteriores, junto a Diagnóstico
y Qué puede un cuerpo completan su “trilogía villera”, y su
formación aporta nuevas formas creativas. La experiencia artística
colectiva que construyen cuestiona también el mundo del arte y su propio
sistema, forma, contenido y proceso creativo se conjugan para dar la

En los títulos finales se agradece especialmente a una serie de
directores, desde Eisenstein, Rossellini, Godard, Vardá, Gleyzer, Birri,
Rouch, Rocha, Mizoguchi, entre otros; cada uno a su manera y en
distintos momentos históricos aportaron con su cine a cuestionar la
imagen dominante y su ideología, a construir nuevos lenguajes, nuevos
mundos imaginarios. El cine nace con el surgimiento del capitalismo que
rápidamente lo convierte en un negocio, pero también nace con el
surgimiento de la revolución social, que desde los primeros años
entusiasma a miles de artistas y está en la base de una tradición
crítica que encuentra ecos y se renueva constantemente. Aunque cada año
se inviertan más millones en productos envasados para el consumo masivo,
no partimos de cero y películas como Atenas se suman para engrosar la
crítica a las ideas dominantes y su construcción de la imagen.

Te puede interesar: César González: "Parto de la rabia para empezar
una nueva

Cultura /
Cine / Cine

#fit #izquierda #argentina #laizquierdadiario #Cultura #Cine #Cineargentino

by La Izquierda Diario

February 09, 2019 we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the first week of February, 2019.

New study: Google manipulates users into constant tracking
February 01, 2019 (comments)
Some bureaucrats notice that Google is maximizing shareholder value. Hackernews enumerates all the various webshits and telephone software that various companies use to inspect in minute detail the lives of every single customer, but concludes that stripping yourself bare and presenting your entire life for examination is worth it so you can look up how long your bike ride was on Tuesday. Some Hackernews identify some alternate providers of software and services, which do not traffic in private information. The Google Analytics team dispatches self-driving vans to round them up and deliver them to re-education dormitories.

Dotfile madness
February 02, 2019 (comments)
Some dipshit has strong opinions about where you should keep your files. Instead of letting an idiot like you decide what software to run and where to put things, we are treated to a disquisition on open-source bureaucracy. Some Hackernews think the author is complaining about the wrong files, but the real fight breaks out over whether people should be allowed to use more than one program in association with a given file. On the sidelines, the rest of Hackernews spends some time reinventing filesystem features from the 1980s, then bikeshedding each other into the ground.

Event Sourcing is Hard
February 03, 2019 (comments)
A Python takes the stage to reveal that complicated systems are not simple and designing them may require actual human thought. Now that the topic has been nominated, Hackernews slogs through reinventing each component of an imaginary implementation from first principles. Since technology is being discussed, instead of technological aesthetics, the discussion is desultory and short-lived.

Firefox 66 to block automatically playing audible video and audio
February 04, 2019 (comments)
Mozilla fixes a ridiculous problem they've had for at least ten years. Hackernews bitches about Netflix, then Youtube, then the internet advertising industry, then Safari.

Reddit is raising a huge round near a $3B valuation
February 05, 2019 (comments)
Reddit begs for money from China, because thirteen years is just not long enough to turn a profit. Hackernews, all of whom use Reddit extensively, agree that Reddit faces several problems: its userbase is garbage, the website itself is a pile of shit, and the company is now beholden to extremely rich people who live in a dictatorship. Most Hackernews suggest various UI improvements that can overcome these limitations.

What Happened to the 100000 Hour LED Bulbs?
February 06, 2019 (comments)
An internet destroys some light bulbs to find out why the manufacturers stopped lying about their average service life. Hackernews, of course, is furious about pulse-width modulation. A light bulb engineer shows up in the comments to tell people to shop at Ikea. Other Hackernews wonder if light bulbs would be better if they were connected via USB.

No Thank You, Mr. Pecker
February 07, 2019 (comments)
A good old-fashioned shitfight breaks out between two newspaper publishers, except instead of immigration issues or mining workers' rights, it's more like Joseph Pulitzer threatened to print daguerreotypes of William Randolph Hearst's hog. Hackernews does not want to think about this particular Elastic Beanstalk, so they focus on the politics of the matter. No technology is discussed.


February 06, 2019

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK-3x20: Assicurami questo!

A New York vogliono consentire agli assicuratori di variare i premi anche sulla base dei post social degli assicurati, e il Wall Street Journal consiglia cosa postare per sottoscrivere una polizza saltando le analisi di sangue e urine. Siamo all'interiorizzazione della sorveglianza.

by Walter Vannini

February 01, 2019

Bretton Woods Project

Recommended resources on the World Bank and IMF: 2018


Enforcing the rules in a global economy: The emergence of structural conditionality in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund Pauly, L., 2018; In: Indart, G., Critical Issues in International Financial Reform, New York: Routledge, Chapter 9

International finance institutions are known for suggesting structural conditionality; a tactic which this chapter suggests has the motive of initiating interaction amongst international political economies.

One size for all? policy advice of the World Bank and the OECD on quality assurance and evaluation of school education in Russia, Brazil, and China Takala, T., Kallo, J., Kauko, J., Rinne, R., 2018; in Wiseman, A.W., Davidson, P.M., (ed.), Cross-nationally Comparative, Evidence-based Educational Policymaking and Reform (International Perspectives on Education and Society, Volume 35) Emerald Publishing Limited, pp.301-319

This chapter discusses the impact of transnational education policy agendas made by the World Bank and Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

World Bank Urban Shelter projects in East Africa: matching needs with appropriate responses? Campbell, J. 2018; in: Housing Africa’s Urban Poor, London: Routledge, Chapter 11

This chapter reviews the success of the World Bank-sponsored urban shelter programmes in East Africa since 1974 and whether similar shelter projects would be successful in meeting the needs of the urban poor.



A toolkit for advocacy at the World Bank Group Eurodad, October 2018

This report provides a toolkit for those interested in development finance issues within the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An overview of the Bank is provided before giving guidance on possible advocacy and campaign work.

A toolkit for advocacy at the International Monetary Fund Eurodad, April 2018

This report provides a toolkit for those interested in development finance issues within the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report focusses on how the IMF influences international finance architecture and the effects of this.

Argentina goes back to the IMF. Neo-Liberalism, crisis and protest Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, November 2018

After 15 years of independence from the IMF, Argentina once again sought help from the IMF after devaluation of the peso. This report discusses the turbulent relationship between Argentina and the IMF.

Assessing austerity: Monitoring the human rights impacts of fiscal consolidation Center for Economic and Social Rights, February 2018

This briefing assesses the impact of austerity measures in the decade since the 2008 financial crisis on human rights. Suggestions for policy makers, oversight bodies, and civil society actors are offered to ensure there is not another lost decade for human rights due to fiscal consolidation.

Broken promises: The World Bank, international investors and the fight for climate justice in the Philippines Inclusive Development International, Bank Information Center Europe, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, April 2018

The Philippines is becoming increasingly vulnerable to threats posed by climate change, especially typhoons. Though the government signed the Paris Agreement in 2017 and adopted the Renewable Energy Act, they are also pushing through coal expansion projects financed by domestic banking centres. This paper discusses the implications of this.

Climate scheme hands $105 million profit to global insurance industry Jubilee Debt Campaign, November 2018

In over 80% of the most economically damaging climate disasters of the 21st century, government debt was higher two years after the disaster. This report critiques the current model of climate risk insurance, arguing that currently the victims of disasters are the one’s that must foot the bill of climate change.

Coming out of the dark: Is the IFC investing in a fossil free future? BIC Europe, November 2018

By tracking 148 financial intermediaries (FIs) investments made by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private sector arm, this report aims to assess whether the IFC has really reformed its FI lending.

Extreme poverty and human rights United Nations General Assembly, September 2018

This report discusses the trend to encourage privatisation popular amongst governments and international actors and the subsequent implication on human rights.

Gender equality and macro-level economics: recommendations for action Gender & Development Network, May 2018

GADN make recommendations on the ways macro-level economic policy can be transformed to achieve gender equality.

History RePPPeated – How public private partnerships are failing Eurodad, October 2018

Public private partnerships are promoted by the World Bank and other multilateral development banks as the solution to promoting SDGs, however this report discusses PPPs shortfalls with reference to both developed and developing countries.

Lighting the way? Assessing the World Bank’s Climate Action Plan and energy access BIC Europe, October 2018

The WBG has made commitments towards both resolving the unacceptable situation of unequal access to electricity and climate change goals, however sufficient progress has not been made on either goal. This paper discusses the shortfalls of the WBG in this area.

Powering the transition World Bank and other IFI energy lending in Asia Oxfam, October 2018

The Climate Vulnerable Forum of countries has made commitments to reach 100% renewable energy by 2050 in Pacific Island nations putting IFI energy sector support plans to shame. This paper suggests how IFIs can improv

Realising women’s rights: The role of public debt in Africa Gender & Development Network, August 2018

Public debt in the African continent undermines the ability for governments to meet their commitments on gender equality and the promotion of women’s rights. GADN suggests a reform of the global financial system is required to ensure the costs of debt are not disproportionately born by women.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights United Nations General Assembly, July 2018

This report discusses the IMF stance on social protection and suggests that in light of the Funds involvement in low-income countries it ought to include social protection in its considerations.

Reward work, not wealth Oxfam, January 2018

Last year saw the biggest increase in billionaires in history, one more every two days. This huge increase could have ended global extreme poverty seven times over. 82% of all wealth created in the last year went to the top 1%, and nothing went to the bottom 50%. Dangerous, poorly paid work for the many is supporting extreme wealth for the few. Women are in the worst work, and almost all the super-rich are men. Governments must create a more equal society by prioritizing ordinary workers and small-scale food producers instead of the rich and powerful.

Seven reasons why feminists say no to World Bank-IMF Neoliberalism APWLD, October 2018

The report highlights the ways in which World Bank infrastructure projects and IMF conditional loans impact women’s human rights.

Shortchanging energy access: A progress report on multilateral development bank finance Oil Change International, October 2018

This report discusses the success of financing energy access projects by MDBs. It finds that whilst half energy access finance went to energy poor countries, more directed targeting needs to occur in order to reach the most energy poor communities.

Short-changed: How the IMF’s tax policies are failing women ActionAid UK, October 2018

The report examines the gendered impact of the IMF’s promotion of regressive, indirect taxes like VAT compared with progressive taxes that are directly linked to income and wealth. It recommends that gender responsive tax and expenditure policies should be at the heart of the IMF’s efforts to tackle gender inequality.

The IMF and fragile states evaluation report 2018 Independent Evaluation Office of the International Monetary Fund, 2018

Countries facing persistent fragility, conflict, and violence have been deemed an international priority because of the potential implications for global stability. This report discusses the role the IMF should play in improving this situation.

Time for a reboot at a critical time for multilateralism Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of the International Monetary Fund, July 2018

Provides an evaluation of the impact of the IEO in the work of the IMF in relation to current global developments.



An evaluation of the feedback loops in the poverty focus of world bank operations Fardoust, S., Kanbur, R., Luo, X., Sunderberg, M., 2018, Evaluation and Program Planning, Volume 67, pp.10-18

Feedback loops are used by the Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank to enhance operations and give more focus to work, however this article argues that they are currently weak and ineffective with regard to poverty focus.

Disequilibrium in development finance: The contested politics of institutional accountability and transparency at the World Bank Inspection Panel Sovacool, B., Naude Fourie, A., Tan-Mullins, M., 2018, Development and Change, pp.1-29 [Online]

Focusing on the World Bank independent inspection panel this article reviews how independent accountability mechanisms operate.

Empowering women through agricultural extension: A global perspective Tiwari, R.K., 2018, Indian Rural Market: Opportunity and Challenges in the Global context, 1(1), pp.68-75

This article critically discusses the push from IFIs to increase female labour force participation.

The politics of transnational accountability policies and the (re)construction of corruption: The case of Tunisia, Transparency International and the World Bank Murphy, J., Brindusa Albu., O., 2018, Accounting Forum, 42(1), pp.32-46

This paper discusses how transnational actors like the World Bank define acceptable governance and assume that corruption is endemic in developing countries. The effects of such policies are discussed.

The role of the World Bank in middle-income countries Kabur, R., 2018, Issues in Indian Public Policies, [Online] pp.167-180

Paper provides a discussion of World Bank relationships with MIC’s. It points out that MIC’s are a diverse category and therefore should be considered differently.



Argentina: new austerity, old neoliberalism Green Left, February 2018

Protests in Argentina after the coalition government, Cambiemos, presented a bill in congress proposing cuts to social security by $3.4 billion.

Budha Ismail Jam, et al v. IFC: An Indian fishing community takes on the World Bank EarthRights International, 2018

The World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), is taken on by fishing communities and farmers for the role it played in funding Tata Mundra Ultra Mega coal fired power plant, which has destroyed natural resources relied upon by locals.

Civil society wishlist for the World Bank’s post-2020 climate goals Civil society letter signed by 37 organisation, September 2018

Civil society groups from around the world issued eight recommendations for the World Bank’s consideration, ahead of its announcement of its new 2025 climate targets in December 2018 at COP24.

Illicit financial flows and the tax haven and offshore secrecy system Tax Justice Network, February 2018

Reducing and eventually eliminating illicit financial flows has been recognised by the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the United Nations as important for achieving Sustainable development goals. However, what is covered by the term ‘illicit’ is unclear.

IMF conditionality: still undermining healthcare & social protection? Eurodad, May 2018

Despite previously denying claims that conditionalities connected to IMF lending worsen health outcomes, Eurodad hopes that 2018 reviews of its conditionalities regarding health care will be considered.

Letter by Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and Human Rights to Jim Yong Kim on 2019 WDR OHCHR, August 2018

Letter to president of the World Bank expressing views on the draft World Development Report 2019.

Newly adopted UN resolution shows growing consensus to improve regulation of education in accordance with human rights law The Global Initiative, July 2018

UN Human Rights Council issued a public statement highlighting the need to further regulate the commercialisation of education in respect to human rights principles.

Response to The Guardian’s opinion piece on Tunisia IMF, February 2018

IMF defend advice given to Tunisia, claiming that they do not advocate austerity but instead promote ‘well-designed, socially balanced reforms’.

Role of IMF-backed elimination of universal social protection in protests Development Pathways, 2018

Iranian population suffers after IMF encourages government to end universal cash transfers.

S. Government opposes “absolute” immunity for World Bank Group in brief to SCOTUS EarthRights International, August 2018

US Supreme Court reverses ruling that international organisations like the Word Bank Group are entitled to ‘absolute immunity’ for lawsuits in US courts. Instead, these institutions are ruled to be subject to the same ‘restrictive’ immunity faced by foreign governments.

The fiscal costs of PPPs in the spotlight Investment Policy, March 2018

PPPs are becoming an increasingly popular way to finance development, however they come with higher risks and often higher costs to governments.

The World Bank’s fetish for ranking: The case of Doing Business rank for Chile Oakland institute, February 2018

Discussion of debate as to whether ‘methodological changes’ to the World Bank’s Doing Business Ranking system were a deliberate ploy to disfavour Chile in rankings because of their new socialist president, Michelle Bachelet.

The World Bank’s incoherent approach to taxes Oxfam, January 2018

Article provides a critique of the World Bank’s Doing Business Rankings which it argues are flawed on a variety of grounds including subjectivity, tax indicators and labour components.

Whither democratization and sustainability? Heinrich Boll Stiftung, October 2018

A critique of the 22 proposals on broad areas for increasing the power of the current development finance system listed in the G20 EPG Report.

by Isabel Alvarez we can't both be right.

webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the last week of January, 2019.

Google proposes changes to Chromium which would disable uBlock Origin
January 22, 2019 (comments)
Google continues the war against its own users. After declaring an intent to further cripple extension functionality, Google is met with moderate pushback from people who write or use browser extensions. They are reassured that the functionality they demand is not disappearing entirely; merely being replaced with completely inapplicable other functionality, which should serve everyone's needs when combined with vague promises about future plans. In the basement of the Mountain View campus, the Google Analytics team soberly takes notes on which internet citizens should be executed for sedition. Hackernews tries to keep off the List, but a few reckless agitators reveal themselves as disloyal to the State.

Why are glasses so expensive? The eyewear industry prefers to keep that blurry
January 23, 2019 (comments)
A reporter publishes the worst-kept secret in the eye care industry. After spending a couple hundred comments reciting everything they've ever done in the course of buying eyeglasses, an especially alert Hackernews manages to post the exact content of the story, presumably in answer to the question in the headline. This leads to a piecemeal retelling of the rest of the article, except in conversation form between various Hackernews, apparently unaware they're recreating the article. Then another group does it again, under the guise of pretending that things work differently in Europe (they do not).

How to Be Successful
January 24, 2019 (comments)
"Hacker" "News'" absentee step-brother shits out a blog post containing instructions for being rich. Most of the advice boils down to being arrogant, rich, or well-connected, which basically exhausts Sam Altman's available set of skills. None of the advice involves selling a shitty business at the height of an economic bubble, but that's the only actual advice that might apply to anyone reading this drivel. Hackernews experiments with definitions of success that don't require being a wealthy sycophantic jackass, and the author arrives to peddle more off-target garbage in that regard, but the moment is gone.

January 25, 2019 (comments)
A Hackernews nails a webshit project to the bulletin board, and the rest of them try to make sense of it. Most of the comments are wild assumptions about the motivations, implementation, and possible usage of the project, all of which is trivially accessible but entirely opaque to Hackernews, because nobody posted about it on Stack Overflow. The other half of the comments are Hackernews bikeshedding every analogy anyone mentions, then arguing about the epistemology of UNIX.

When a Bike Company Put a TV on Its Box, Shipping Damages Went Down (2017)
January 26, 2019 (comments)
Hackernews rediscovers a years-old story of the lengths to which manufacturers must go to convince the shipping industry not to push boxes out of planes midflight. The comments are rife with Hackernews speculating on how exactly boxes get from Amazon to their studio walkup in the Mission, but no technology is discussed.

KABOOM in 180 lines of bare C++
January 27, 2019 (comments)
An academic writes a tutorial. Of the 180 lines of bare C++, fourteen of them are include directives. Hackernews doesn't give a shit about the implementation in question; they just want to post about how they did it better or someone else did it more usefully. One Hackernews is mad that someone else is getting attention, so they bicker about that for a few hours. The fact that the article contains actual code is like kryptonite to Hackernews; the vote-to-comment ratio is well in excess of ten to one.

FaceTime bug lets you hear audio of person you are calling before they pick up
January 28, 2019 (comments)
Apple continues the war against its own products, reviving their previous practice of avoiding security backdoors in favor of security frontdoors. One Hackernews wants to know how Apple can release such obviously broken garbage, and the Apple-ogists arrive in force to explain how hard it is to be the best phone manufacturer on earth, and the gang invents all kinds of fantastic scenarios in which this situation is not the result of extreme incompetence at every level.

Facebook has been paying people to install a “Research” VPN
January 29, 2019 (comments)
Facebook continues the war against its own users, this time by just paying them to sabotage themselves. Among the valuable data harvested during this process is the supremely useful fact that it's easy to convince children to do dumb shit and there are no consequences to doing so. Hackernews brainstorms hare-brained technical solutions that a phone software company might implement to combat an ultrawealthy psychopathic corporate entity actively pursuing hostile activity on a global basis. A popular Hackernews refrain: Facebook would be irresponsible if they failed to use every method available to them to harvest the personal data of teenagers.

Instacart paying 80 cents an hour because worker received a large tip
January 29, 2019 (comments)
A Y-Combinator-funded business is dynamically scaling its resource expenditure. Hackernews is absolutely outraged by this cartoonishly evil business practice, and blames tipping (which does not affect the minimum wage due the employee) instead of the gig economy's habit of classifying employees as independent contractors (which does). Dozens of Hackernews from the European bureau arrive to misunderstand American labor laws, but it's unclear whether they decided to misunderstand it deliberately or are merely emulating the ignorance of the American faction. Nobody is interested in recognizing that this abuse is helping to pay for "Hacker" "News" hosting fees.

Why isn't the internet more fun and weird?
January 30, 2019 (comments)
A webshit complains that the internet is homogeneous and boring, and that everyone seems to be implementing the same shit in the same way. To combat this, the webshit reimplements Scratch and Glitch. Hackernews disagrees with the webshit's thesis, and responds by linking every single goddamn website they've ever seen. When that gets boring, they take breaks to debate the raison d'être of the web, but only until they're ready to resume pasting their browser histories.

Apple blocks Google from running its internal iOS apps
January 31, 2019 (comments)
Apple continues the war against its own users, which in this case is Google and Facebook, which Apple banned from the Apple Store for continuing the war against their users. It turns out that both Google and Facebook have 'internal' iPhone applications, which leads to the obvious question: why the fuck would they do that? Nobody knows, and Hackernews isn't interested in finding out. The only questions Hackernews wants to answer are "how dare Google and Facebook defy Apple's Holy Writ," and "how dare Apple treat Google and Facebook like they were some random third-party strangers." These answers, as well, are moot; Apple has relented and allowed the other two back into the church.


FOSDEM: more boring shit

Let's take a look at my annotated copy of the FOSDEM 2019 main talk schedule, shall we?


Welcome to FOSDEM 2019
The sign-in sheet for this session doubles as a census of people nobody wants to talk to.

Can Anyone Live in Full Software Freedom Today?
Confessions of Activists Who Try But Fail to Avoid Proprietary Software

Some bureaucrats make excuses for the conference attendees' hypocrisy. In place of productive information or actual technical content, the speakers will whine about which programs nobody's writing for free. The audience will take notes on Macbooks, iPads, and other Apple products.

FLOSS, the Internet and the Future
A primordial webshit travels to a conference devoted to serving a specific copyright cult, and then holds a lecture about why the copyright cult is really important. Nobody in the room will learn anything new, and the speaker will not reach any audience not already in the cult. While this is arguably a massive failure of advocacy, it's also about on par with copyright cultists' track record to date.

Blockchain: The Ethical Considerations
Another bureaucrat speaks to a very specific confluence of misapprehensions, to wit:

  1. Any functioning human gives a shit about bitcoin,
  2. Bitcoin has any effect on human society at all,
  3. Anyone has found a valid use case for blockchain technology,
  4. Blockchain dunces are ever given any position of responsibility,
  5. Anyone cares about the ethical value judgments of a professional copyright cultist

Nobody attending the talk will have the heart to point any of this out.

The Cloud is Just Another Sun
The speaker is very angry that people are using computers in a manner that renders specific copyright licenses irrelevant. The audience will be instructed to care even harder, even though no solutions are available. The speaker works for a company whose profitability depends on a customer base who gives a shit about copyright licenses.

2019 - Fifty years of Unix and Linux advances
Jon Hall observes the 50th anniversary of the creation of UNIX, and generously includes Linux in the observance. Linux does not deserve this, and the FOSDEM audience does not deserve Jon Hall, but on the bright side this talk will ruin the "100% useless dipshittery" streak in this year's FOSDEM lineup. That's right: they can't even fuck things up correctly.

Closing FOSDEM 2019
if they'd just started with this talk we'd all be spared a lot of noise


Mattermost’s Approach to Layered Extensibility in Open Source
Why, you might ask, would "open source" layered extensibility be different from any other extensibility approach (layered or otherwise) in any other software? It would not, of course, but the CEO of the company needed a reason to fly to Brussels for the weekend, and this is as good a reason as any to write it off as a business expense. Spoiler alert: "layered extensibility" here is a code for "everything is webshit."

Matrix in the French State
What happens when a government adopts open source & open standards for all its internal communication?

it burns

DNS over HTTPS - the good, the bad and the ugly
Why, how, when and who gets to control how names are resolved

A webshit will try to convince the audience that replacing other protocols with webshit is healthy and good. "Why" will be answered with "because we want to track you more closely," "how" will be answered with "extremely poorly," "when" will be answered with "as soon as the Chrome team tells you to" and "who gets to control how names are resolved" will of course be "Google."

Netflix and FreeBSD
Using Open Source to Deliver Streaming Video

A corporate drone explains that using non-Linux operating system makes it easier to get your company's shitware committed upstream, spreading out the maintenance burden and magically converting some of your operating expenses into externalities you can ignore. Sorry, I mean "engaging with a close-knit developer community benefits your product's ROI."


PostgreSQL Goes to 11!
A database management program has not yet ceased development. The speaker will read the version control commit log for one hour.

Hugepages and databases
working with abundant memory in modern servers

A Postgres will mumble about RAM management features that everyone has been using for approximately twenty years. This talk belongs at some kind of professional database symposium, but it's happening at FOSDEM, so the audience will consist entirely of the speaker's co-workers and the people who are going to use the room next.

PostgreSQL vs. fsync
How is it possible that PostgreSQL used fsync incorrectly for 20 years, and what we'll do about it.

Another Postgres regrets to inform us that they've been fucking up basic storage primitives for at least the entirety of the 21st century, and continue to fuck them up today. This talk will comprise an extended apology, followed by a lot of excuses and whining, wrapping up with wholly unsubstantiated claims regarding future improvements. The only people who care already know.

Raft in Scylla
Consensus in an eventually consistent database

The programmer behind an also-ran database program will discuss the only interesting aspect of that program: someone else's algorithm. The program in question is a port from Java to C++ of a database management program so shitty that Facebook, who created it, almost immediately discontinued all use and development thereof and donated the software to the Office of Software Terminal Care, also known as the Apache Foundation. The speaker chooses to work on this disgraceful travesty full-time.


The TPM2 software community
Getting started as a user, becoming a contributor

Some corporate programmers are released from the mines long enough to pretend anyone cares about the things they work on. The anxiety and excitement induced by being allowed out of the cave caused them to paste the talk description into the web form twice. Nobody noticed.

Mender - an open source OTA software update manager for IoT
This talk is an hour-long sales pitch for the speaker's employer, which sells a product that other companies can use to provision TLS certificates and spyware updates to touchscreen refrigerators. In order to lure idiots into attending the sales talk, the speaker will point out that the license of the software conforms to the thematic goals of the conference.

Tesla Hacking to FreedomEV!
Bringing Freedom to electric vehicle software

This talk is from a VA Linux alum, which means the talk will almost certainly be a story about how the speaker spent way too much money on poorly-performing hardware, then made it worse by crowbarring a half-working Linux installation onto it, resulting in a very expensive disaster that works about a third of the time. This will be followed by an invitation to others to follow suit in purchasing and then ruining a hundred-thousand dollar car, leading to a brand-new interpretation of the well-worn phrase "malfunctioning Linux driver."

Go on Microcontrollers: Small Is Going Big
TinyGo takes the Go programming language to the "final frontier" where we could not go before... running directly on microcontrollers.

Some rando is excited because you can now check if err != nil on smaller processors than ever before. Like literally every other language, the entire project is just transpiling to llvm intermediate code and then letting the existing toolsets handle the rest, completely removing any advantage of using a specific programming language.


Love What You Do, Everyday!
A bureaucrat will ramble incoherently about seeking life advice from copyright law cultists.

Crostini: A Linux Desktop on ChromeOS
Some Googles will present propaganda in order to sell low-quality laptops, on the principle that they can sometimes be tricked into functioning like actual laptops. With any luck, this will give Adsense valuable insights into the behavior patterns of gullible idiots, which sounds like a pretty juicy demographic to advertise in front of.

Making the next blockbuster game with FOSS tools
Using Free Software tools to achieve high quality game visuals.

The speaker would like anyone at all please to use software maintained by the speaker. To achieve this goal, the speaker will try to convince a bunch of random strangers to choose graphical design tools not on their suitability for a given task, but based on the copyright licenses under which they are available. This conference is ridiculous.

Open Source C#, .NET, and Blazor - everywhere PLUS WebAssembly
A Microsoft tries to convince everyone to install a shitload of .dll files onto their Linux systems in order to use expensive IDEs to produce the same shit everyone else already does. Along the way, the Microsoft will brag about tricking many rubes into working for free on corporate platform code.

SUSI.AI: An Open Source Platform for Conversational Web
The rich and lengthy tradition of the Free Software community making inferior copies of other, better-engineered systems continues, in this instance enabling underemployed nerds the world over to shout things at their computers. Shouting at computers while some shoddy software desperately attempts to parse and respond to this input is apparently preferable to using any of the well-supported existing input devices that come with every single computer on earth, so this talk will be well-attended and extremely beneficial to anyone who has nothing better to do on Sunday afternoon.

Online Privacy

SSPL, Confluent License, CockroachDB License and the Commons Clause
Is it freedom to choose to be less free?

This talk, from a Facebook lawyer apparently being punished with public relations duty, has nothing to do with privacy at all. The entire point of the talk is to make the audience believe that Facebook gives a single shit about their opinions regarding intellectual property law. The actual product whose weaponized license caused a shitstorm in nerd circles is not mentioned even once: misdirection, or idiocy? That's a trick question; nobody can tell the difference.

Solid: taking back the Web through decentralization
App development as we know it will radically change

An academic, enrolled in the Tim Berners-Lee fan club, will engage in a performance-art piece hypothesizing about a world where anyone gives a shit about what Tim Berners-Lee wants. In accordance with the colorful tradition of web-reinvention nutcases, bold claims and broad promises will rain down upon a rapt audience. After forty minutes, the speaker will ask for questions from the audience, who will respond by spending ten minutes' sober contemplation of profound questions like "what if we COULD do things better?," "I wonder what room I was supposed to have been in?," and "if I leave now, can I get something to eat before the next unhinged rant?"

The Current and Future Tor Project
Updates from the Tor Project

The United States Defense Department's most successful honeypot sends its apex bureaucrat to reassure paranoid Europeans that they can still totally trust all this stuff, you guys. Everything's fine. We're on your side. Route all your traffic through us. It's for your own good.

Algorithmic Sovereignty and the state of community-driven open source development
Is there a radical interface pedagogy for algorithmic governementality[sic]?

A researcher would like the audience to consider what happens when government oppression is executed in a mode that allows blame to be shifted to ostensibly-unbiased computer programs, but the talk description suffered a transporter malfunction and was merged with every edition of Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases. Those audience members with a sufficiently enhanced vocabulary will have to undertake the task of translating the meaning of this talk into emoji for wider dissemination.

Open Source at DuckDuckGo
Raising the Standard of Trust Online

A search engine programmer will deliver a sales talk.


Fine-grained Distributed Application Monitoring Using LTTng
The audience for this talk, whose topic is low-level systems diagnosis, will consist entirely of webshits who are under the delusion that "distributed" means it uses http as a core protocol. None of them will understand it, but understanding is not required to paste the relevant keywords into the end of their resumes.

eBPF powered Distributed Kubernetes performance analysis
Because Kubernetes, a clustered-application execution platform, was invented by Google, there is no way to usefully inspect any aspect of it. The speaker is one of a large class of poor sods who have to resort to injecting code at runtime into the kernel to make up for the absense of fundamental operational functionality. The talk will be well-attended, because injecting code at runtime into the operating system kernel is simpler than debugging Kubernetes.

Perl 11
The Future of Saint Larry's Language

A programmer will attempt to Fix All The Problems with perl by reimplementing all of the other projects created to Fix All The Problems with perl. This talk was primarily scheduled to keep the room available for people who couldn't get into the ChromeOS talk in the other room.


Better loop mounts with NBD
Take your loop mounts to the next level with nbdkit

A Red Hat drone thinks that the problem with local filesystems is they don't have enough of the network stack involved. This talk will explain how to rectify this omission, as well as some tips on how to make block storage as unreliable as everything else Red Hat pays to develop.

ELI5: ZFS Caching
Explain Like I'm 5: How the ZFS Adaptive Replacement Cache works

A FreeBSD developer thinks that five-year-olds are interested in why storage software caches things into RAM and how that cache is managed. The only five-year-olds the speaker has ever met are bugs in the software being discussed. The word 'works' in the talk title is to be interpreted as an aspiration. We can reevaluate things after the FreeBSD project deletes all this shit and gets in line behind the Linux weenies.

Data services in a hybrid cloud world with Ceph
Making data as portable as your stateless microservices

Another sales talk designed to turn this weekend into a business expense. No apologies to this software's victims are promised. The sales talk highlights using the software as an abstraction layer for AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Storage, without mentioning what a high-maintenance treadmill nightmare the solution is.

Square Kilometre Array and its Software Defined Supercomputer
... and a very fast parallel file system

An OpenStack refugee disguises a CV as a talk, using numbers that seem large to attract an audience. Most of the performance of the namedropped system comes from add-on 'accelerator' cards which are so unusably terrible that Intel discontinued the entire product line out of shame. If the OpenStack project had any dignity, it would follow suit. The talk description does not contain a reason the speaker would admit in public being involved with any of this.


January 30, 2019

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK 3x19 - Qui in Europa facciamo così

Perché lo CNIL, l'Autorità Garante Francese, commina sulla base del GDPR una multa per 50 milioni di Euro a Google, società americana con sede in Irlanda? Perché in Europa facciamo così, che le multe devono essere proporzionate alla capacità di pagarle, altrimenti i ricchi pagano ridendo e vanno avanti a fare i loro porci comodi. Venticinque secoli dopo Pericle, siamo ancora in guerra per i nostri principi, contro chi vuole fare di noi una colonia di cui mungere a piacimento i dati. Non finisce qui, ma almeno per un giorno possiamo andare a dormire contenti.

by Walter Vannini

January 25, 2019

Museo dell Informatica funzionante

Retrospettiva bin/art: TAPE MARK 1

Per il ciclo “bin/art, retrospettiva sulla computer art” presentiamo

TAPE MARK 1 (1961) di Nanni Balestrini

al MusIF / Museo dell’Informatica Funzionante
Via Carnevale 17 – Palazzolo Acreide (SR)

Ore 18:00 – Presentazione del ciclo di mostre temporanee “bin/art”
Ore 18.15 – Presentazione dell’opera TAPE MARK 1 (algoritmo di poesia combinatoria di Nanni Balestrini, 1961)
Ore 18.30 – Proiezione del video documentario “Tape Mark 1, a reconstruction” di Federico Bonelli

al MUSIF / Museo dell’Informatica Funzionante
Via Carnevale 17 – Palazzolo Acreide (SR)


L'articolo Retrospettiva bin/art: TAPE MARK 1 sembra essere il primo su Museo dell'Informatica Funzionante.

by admin

January 23, 2019

Data Knightmare (Italian podcast)

DK 3x18 - SdI contro GDPR, spiegato bene

Cosa c'è che non va nello SdI dell'Agenzia delle Entrate, battute a parte, da spingere il Garante a emettere due provvedimenti in due mesi? Un eccellente caso di studio per capire, in Italiano corrente, cosa si nasconde dietro i termini del GDPR: liceità, consenso, minimizzazione, privacy by default e by design, responsabili.

by Walter Vannini

January 22, 2019

Evgeny Morozov

Why US rightwing populists and their global allies disagree over Big Tech | Evgeny Morozov

The American wing of the movement sees big tech as a target of attack while populists in the rest of the world see it as their best chance of escaping intellectual hegemony

The emerging global movement of rightwing populists is guilty of many things but ideological incoherence in choosing their enemies is generally not one of them. Whether it is Steve Bannon bashing Pope Francis, Matteo Salvini attacking the “do-gooders” in humanitarian NGOs or Marine Le Pen venting against the dull technocrats in Brussels, the populists go after a predictable, well-calculated set of targets. If anyone chooses their enemies well, it’s them.

But there’s one issue on which there’s no agreement between American rightwing populists and their peers in the rest of the world: what to make of Silicon Valley. On the one hand, its services and platforms have been a boon to the populists everywhere, greatly boosting their audience numbers and allowing them to target potential voters with highly personalized messages; the Cambridge Analytica fiasco has made it quite clear. Today, upstart and new rightwing parties like Spain’s Vox instinctively understand the primacy of digital battles; Vox already leads all other Spanish parties in terms of Instagram followers.

Steve Bannon called people leading ‘evil’ Silicon Valley ‘complete narcissists’ and ‘sociopaths’

The European Union Copyright Directive nicely illustrates the bizarre friendship between Silicon Valley and European populists

Continue reading...

by Evgeny Morozov