Y2Gay

Gay marriage: the database engineering perspective:

There are various objections to expanding the conventional, up-tight, as-God-intended "one man, one woman" notion of marriage but by far the least plainly bigoted ones I am aware of are the bureaucratic ones.

To be blunt, the systems aren't set up to handle it. The paper forms have a space for the husband's name and a space for the wife's name. Married people carefully enter their details in block capitals and post the forms off to depressed paper-pushers who then type that information into software front-ends whose forms are laid out and named in precisely the same fashion. And then they hit "submit" and the information is filed away electronically in databases which simply keel over or belch integrity errors when presented with something so profound as a man and another man who love each other enough to want to file joint tax returns.

[...] Believe it or not, this is actually a fractionally less stupid database schema.

  • males
    • id
    • forename
    • surname
    • birthdate
    • wife_id (unique foreign key references column females.id, may be NULL if male is unmarried)
  • females
    • id
    • forename
    • surname
    • birthdate

This reduces the scope for ambiguity but it has suddenly become eye-poppingly sexist. Plus, what if you want to store information pertaining to the marriage itself? Like, the date it began?

Keep reading as he explains why you can't marry yourself, expands his database schema to cover polygamy, and eventually intransitive marriages:

The legal ramifications of what I'm about to describe are unguessable. I have no idea what rights a civil union like the ones which would be possible below would have, nor do I have any idea what kind of transhuman universe would require so complex a system. This is the marriage database schema to take us up to the thirty-first century, people.

Previously.

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jwz mixtape 156

Please enjoy jwz mixtape 156.

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Current Music: as noted

Reviewing movies I haven't seen:

jwz: So the new Jurassic Park is set in the present day, two decades after the first movie?
kingfish: Yes.
jwz: And the outside world knows about it, this genetic tech isn't secret or anything?
kingfish: Right.
jwz: So the outside world is full of people with feathers, night vision chibi eyes, esoteric genitalia?
kingfish: No, not so much.
jwz: Everyone has a tiny pet dinosaur, at least?
kingfish: Nope.
jwz: Miniature giraffes?
kingfish: Nope.
jwz: They have developed and marketed a breed of cats who aren't dicks?
kingfish: Not even that.
jwz: I'm sorry, without people with feathers, there's no way I can take this movie seriously.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Asbo dwarf jailed after impersonating a Dalek

Ian Salter-Bromley, 55, stuck a sucker dart on his forehead and filled his mouth with dominoes before shouting: 'Exterminate! Exterminate!'

He returned to his flat and barricaded the door after they called the police and he was involved in a stand-off before he had to be Tasered twice, with police worried they would hit his colostomy bag.

The offence was committed during a campaign of public abuse after he defecated in a council office in protest his kitchen work tops had been mounted 8in too high for him to reach. Salter-Bromley exposed himself and spread excrement and urine in Hull's Wilson centre in the main reception and toilets and he was given an Asbo for a string of nuisance calls to emergency services.

Salter Bromley appeared for sentence at Hull Crown Court after admitting a charge of affray for threatening police in the Dalek stunt, possession of a knife in a public place and breach of his Asbo for threatening a woman on a bus with a bread knife when he thought children were making fun of his dwarfism. [...] Mr Brook said Mr Salter Bromley had to be sentenced for a disturbance on board a bus on September 9 when he produced the knife and began waving it about before telling one woman that "if he was going down for killing someone, she was going down with him". [...]

Defence barrister Paul Genney said the offences sounded worse than they were as his client was a lonely man with few friends who recently had his wheelchair stolen. [...]

"He said in the bus incident the woman admitted she had not felt threatened. The knife was only a butter knife, which was blunt and only slightly serrated," he said. "His physical state is poor. He once tried to kill himself and broke his back.

This man is a hero.

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Tempest sidechannel attacks now cheaper

Stealing Keys from PCs using a Radio: Cheap Electromagnetic Attacks on Windowed Exponentiation

We demonstrate the extraction of secret decryption keys from laptop computers, by nonintrusively measuring electromagnetic emanations for a few seconds from a distance of 50 cm. The attack can be executed using cheap and readily-available equipment: a consumer-grade radio receiver or a Software Defined Radio USB dongle. [...]

We successfully extracted keys from laptops of various models running GnuPG (popular open source encryption software, implementing the OpenPGP standard), within a few seconds. The attack sends a few carefully-crafted ciphertexts, and when these are decrypted by the target computer, they trigger the occurrence of specially-structured values inside the decryption software. These special values cause observable fluctuations in the electromagnetic field surrounding the laptop, in a way that depends on the pattern of key bits (specifically, the key-bits window in the exponentiation routine). The secret key can be deduced from these fluctuations, through signal processing and cryptanalysis.

Previously, previously.

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Etsy Explains Why It Banned Magic Spells

"There is great distress in the metaphysical community."

You might not have known that Etsy was full of witches, or "spellcasters", as many identify themselves. Historically, the website has been a favourite for supernatural sellers, and not just because its DIY aesthetic fits with home voodoo and casual shamanism.

But now, in a move even clairvoyants might have missed, the witches of Etsy are being ousted from their online home. Forum threads have sprung up filled with embittered hoodoo practitioners and sellers of healing crystals, detailing the ban of sales of "spell packs, herbs, and blessed jewellery."

Victoria Zasikowski, a seller of spells and readings on Etsy and Bonanza (another online marketplace more tolerant to sellers of "intangibles") contacted me [...] Swathes of us have now had our sales and shop views tank, and there is great distress in the metaphysical community."

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Robot Perp Walk

"Helper often speaks of the coming war between man and the brotherhood of machines."

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Banning bottled water increases sales of robot sweat

The Unintended Consequences of Changes in Beverage Options and the Removal of Bottled Water on a University Campus

Results. Per capita shipments of bottles, calories, sugars, and added sugars increased significantly when bottled water was removed. Shipments of healthy beverages declined significantly, whereas shipments of less healthy beverages increased significantly. As bottled water sales dropped to zero, sales of sugar-free beverages and sugar-sweetened beverages increased.

Conclusions. The bottled water ban did not reduce the number of bottles entering the waste stream from the university campus, the ultimate goal of the ban. With the removal of bottled water, consumers increased their consumption of less healthy bottled beverages.

Previously.

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Glory Hole Vortex

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Sense8

The most important takeaway is that in a random set of eight 30-year-olds, three will know kung fu and/or gun-kata, one will be a super-hacker, and four will have no appreciable skills of any kind. (This is where you give the side-eye to your circle of friends.)

It wasn't bad -- though I feel like nearly every idea in it had already been exploited, better, in seasons 2 and 3 of Orphan Black. Sense8 has a much bigger travel budget, though. It's also just loaded with pandering and clichés, and every sub-plot eventually trudges toward the most obvious-possible happy ending.

And, like Lost, it left me wanting to scream "You incurious motherfuckers!" at the TV multiple times. Because, by all means, never bother to do any experiments to determine the limits of your new superpower when glassy-eyed amazement will do.

I think the moral was, there is no problem you can't solve by punching it.

Previously.

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