The Insightful Troll

Rants and ruminations.

Gun Shop

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This film shows 2,328 firearms, out of the 393 million currently in the US. Arranged in a dizzying 24 frames per second progression, from handguns to semi-automatic assault rifles, “Gun Shop” encourages viewers to critically examine America’s love affair with guns.

The US has the highest gun ownership per capita in the world, more than twice that of the second place country, Yemen. Collectively, civilians in the US own 46% of the guns in the world. We have sickness in this country.

Code That Changed Everything

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Slate came up with a list of the 36 world-changing pieces of code, including the code responsible for the 1202 alarm thrown by the Apollo Guidance Computer during the first Moon landing, the HTML hyperlink, PageRank, the guidance system for the Roomba, and Bitcoin.

My favorites - Of course the piece of code from 1972 that launched a generation of developers, myself included:

#include <stdio.h>

  printf("hello, world\n")

That snippet of code, or some form of it is the first thing a budding developer writes. Even today.

And the infamous null terminated string:

char yellow[26] = {'y', 'e', 'l', 'l', 'o', 'w', '\0'};

From the Slate article:

In 1972, Dennis Ritchie made a fateful decision: to represent text in his new language with something called a null-terminated string. The concept had been around earlier, but he enshrined it in his new language, which he called C, and the legacy of that decision has been with us ever since.

There are two primary ways that programming languages represent a piece of text: It can have an intrinsic, explicit length—“I contain exactly 10 characters and no more.” Or it can be null-terminated—“Here are a bunch of characters, keep going until you hit the zero-byte at the end, good luck!”

An extremely common mistake in C code is to copy a long string into a shorter string and overflow the end, meaning you are destroying other data that just happened to be nearby. It’s like scribbling past the edge of a whiteboard.

Besides merely causing the program to malfunction, such bugs can be exploited to change a program’s behavior by convincing it to overwrite something with specific, carefully crafted data. These are the buffer overflow attacks. Very nearly every security exploit you’ve ever heard of starts here, beginning with the Morris Worm in 1988.

You can code carefully in C to avoid these kinds of bugs, but the language makes this class of mistake easy to make and hard to detect. Nearly every modern language eschews the null-terminated string, but C and C++ still run the substrate of the world, from your router to your “smart” lightbulbs. So we’re still playing whack-a-mole with this class of bug nearly 50 years later.

Jamie Zawinski Netscape Developer

Its intersting how Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie in their classic book The C Programming Language gave us the both the lingua franca of the modern software world, and its greatest design flaw.

Quote of the Day

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I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less
than half of you half as well as you deserve.

J. R. R. Tolkien

Quote of the Day

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Pelorat sighed.

I will never understand people.

There's nothing to it. All you have to do is take a close look at yourself and you will understand everyone else. How would Seldon have worked out his Plan -- and I don't care how subtle his mathematics was -- if he didn't understand people; and how could he have done that if peopleweren't easy to understand? You show me someone who can't understand people and I'll show you someone who has built up a false image of himself -- no offense intended.

Back to Gilead

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The Testaments’ is the long-awaited sequel to the ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. It takes us back to Gilead and shows us how the cruel country came to exist out of what was once America.

While the first book focused on the tale of a single Handmaid, this book tells of three other women who lived during the time of Gilead. We start with the perspective of a character who featured prominently in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’- Aunt Lydia. We follow how her life changed when Gilead was formed and see how circumstances forced her to become the monster she seemed.

The second perspective is that of a young girl raised in Gilead called Agnes and the third of a girl raised in Canada called Daisy. Their vivid perspectives beautifully contrast the difference in their upbringing and international perspective on issues of the time. Daisy is like a modern American teen while Agnes almost seems like a child from a classic.

The writing in the book is as beautiful as the last, it flows easily and wraps itself around the reader drawing them into a world that is scarily familiar to our own. Atwood’s style describes both settings and emotions vividly, truly taking readers on an experience. The book is a must read for anyone who enjoyed ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ for it gives readers a wider perspective on Offred’s life and the consequences of her decisions.

James Bond 25 - No Time to Die

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Unveiled on social media to celebrate global James Bond Day - 007 Daniel Craig looking moody and focused in a tuxedo, framed against a blue wall. Whatever he’s gazing intently at in the film won’t be revealed until April 2020.

Model 3 - 24% of Small and Midsize

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From CleanTechnica

At the moment, while the verdict isn’t final, things are looking good for Tesla and Tesla fans. We don’t know precise Tesla Model 3 sales figures in the US, and even educated estimates are very rough estimates until we get more data from Europe and China, but our expectation is that there were between 40,000 and 50,000 deliveries in the US in the third quarter. On the more conservative side, we’ve estimated 43,000 US deliveries. That blows away sales of any other midsize or small luxury car.

1979 - Fifty Songs 3 Minutes

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Chicago mashup masters The Hood Internet has released a musical tribute to 1979, combining 50 songs released that year into a tight 3-minute mix. This shouldn’t work, but it does!


ABBA, AC/DC, Anita Ward, Billy Joel, Blondie, Boomtown Rats, The Buggles, The Cars, Charlie Daniels Band, Cheap Trick, Chic, The Clash, The Cure, Donna Summer, Doobie Brothers, Earth Wind & Fire, Electric Light Orchestra, Fleetwood Mac, The Flying Lizards, Gang of Four, The Gap Band, Gary Numan, Joy Division, Kiss, The Knack, Kool & The Gang, Lipps Inc, M, Michael Jackson, Pat Benatar, Pink Floyd, The Police, The Pretenders, Prince, Queen, Rainbow, Rupert Holmes, Sister Sledge, The Specials, Squeeze, The Sugarhill Gang, Supertramp, Talking Heads, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Van Halen, The Whispers, Wire

Next four are due every week this month 1980-1983!!!