Today in "The War on My Sinuses" news

I tried to buy Sudafed today and was told, "the portal is down". The Sudafed Portal is down you guys. "Can't you sell it to me anyway?" "No."

Of course this is not a problem if you're the Meth-Head-in-Chief:

JRehling:

In 2016, Trump posted a photo of himself that gave away more than he intended. An open desk drawer revealed box after box of Sudafed, piled on top of one another.

Even stranger, although the photo was taken in New York, the boxes include a type that is only sold in the United Kingdom, with a different box and distinctive ingredients not found in the U.S.

Sudafed is sometimes used for a high that includes increased alertness, but also has a side effect of pupil dilation.

Abuse of this drug was rare, but in order to limits its abuse, regulations were passed limiting the frequency in which an individual could purchase it, and requiring the individual show ID.

The desk drawer full of Sudafed, including boxes in New York purchased in the UK indicate that the legal limits of purchase are being circumvented, and that the then-candidate Trump was abusing Sudafed for its high rather than its decongestant effect.

Beyond pupil dilation, more serious side effects include hallucinations and paranoid psychosis.

It is very concerning for the entire planet that someone with access to nuclear weapons is showing signs of abusing a drug that leads to paranoid psychosis.

A desk drawer full of a controlled substance, however benign, shows signs that someone is systematically circumventing the law. The side effects of a cold drug are particularly concerning in this case, and this is a threat to the security of the United States and the world.

CaslerNoel:

Trump snorted Adderall all thru the day on 'Apprentice' he also ate UK. Sudafed like candy. But at night and at parties he switched to cocaine and high-end Methamphetamine that was hand-delivered by Bikers. The point is he was always high. That hasn't changed.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , , ,

The lines of code that changed everything

I contributed to this article -- "The Null-Terminated String: The most catastrophic design bug in the history of computing" -- but there are a bunch of other worthy entries in here that I hadn't thought of!

Number 4294967295 might surprise you.

Culturally, code exists in a nether zone. We can feel its gnostic effects on our everyday reality, but we rarely see it, and it's quite inscrutable to non-initiates. (The folks in Silicon Valley like it that way; it helps them self-mythologize as wizards.) We construct top-10 lists for movies, games, TV -- pieces of work that shape our souls. But we don't sit around compiling lists of the world's most consequential bits of code, even though they arguably inform the zeitgeist just as much.

So Slate decided to do precisely that. To shed light on the software that has tilted the world on its axis, the editors polled computer scientists, software developers, historians, policymakers, and journalists. They were asked to pick: Which pieces of code had a huge influence? Which ones warped our lives?

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Resurrection Men, LLC

In the rush to harvest body parts, death investigations have been upended:

By the time a coroner's investigator was able to examine Jinde's 70-pound body, the bones from her legs and arms were gone. Also missing were large patches of skin from her back. With permission from county officials and saying they did not know of the abuse allegations, employees from OneLegacy, a Southern California human tissue procurement company, had gained access to the body, taking parts that could have provided crucial evidence. [...] "We can't be sure the bones weren't fractured," Wecht said. "This could have been a manslaughter case." [...]

Although the companies have emphasized organ transplants, in far more cases nationwide they harvested skin, bone, fat, ligaments and other tissues that are generally not used for life-threatening conditions. Those body parts fuel a booming industrial biotech market in which a half-teaspoon of ground-up human skin is priced at $434. That product is one of those used in cosmetic surgery to plump lips and posteriors, fill cellulite dimples and enhance penises. A single body can supply raw materials for products that sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. [...]

To increase the supply of harvested body parts, the companies have embedded procurement teams inside government morgues across the country. [...]

"I was inside the residence performing my investigation and the family was standing by outside," Kim Pavek, an L.A. County coroner investigator, wrote in an internal complaint about OneLegacy after a suicide in 2008. "The decedent's mother asked me why someone from my office would call her cellphone during such a distraught time.... She explained to me that someone from OneLegacy said they were a representative from the coroner's office inquiring about 'donating parts.' "

Previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , , ,

Javascript blocking

For the last year or so I have been running with JavaScript mostly turned off, and what I have learned is this:

  1. Almost nothing works. 95% of the web just shows you a blank page.

  2. Most sites start working again if you allow one or two JavaScript URLs to load and block all of the others.

  3. Those others are the ones that are super annoying trackers and popups and selection-interceptors and shit.

  4. Most sites host their "render the page" JS locally, but load the "annoy and surveil" JS from outside domains.

  5. Blocking ".js" URLs is better than turning it off entirely, because the <noscript> tag typically just does a table-flip and tells you to fuck off.

Well, Safari 13 kneecapped content filtering by removing Safari Extensions entirely, so JS-Blocker doesn't work any more (it was not very good, but I had a hand-hacked version that I could mostly live with). But now I'm back in an ad-tracking sign-up-popup "let's keep the conversation going" hell again.

Did Apple replace Safari Extensions with anything useful? Does there exist, or can I write, a content filter that blacklists any URL ending in ".js" with whitelisting based on the domain of the parent URL?

This latest indignity is almost enough to make me try out Firefox again -- almost -- but since I am also a heavy iOS user, that's a fucking nightmare. Using a non-Safari browser on iOS is basically impossible (all URLs open in Safari, all app embeds are Safari, all share menus are Safari, etc.) and so using something else on desktop would mean no synchronization of browser history, bookmarks or Reading List between desktop and mobile.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Seventeen came out seventeen years ago

"By 2023, they'll be no fun."

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , ,

jwzlyrics

jwzlyrics works with Music.app on macOS 10.15. Let me know how it goes.

Music.app has a lyric-displaying sidebar now, but I made this work out of curiosity to see how stupid the port from iTunes.app to Music.app was. (Answer: medium stupidity.)

They respond to all the same AppleScript messages, just in a different namespace -- in case doubt lingers about it being a lie that iTunes has been "retired" and Music.app is some brand new thing. No. No, they just renamed the app and deleted a bunch of features. I told you so.

Most of the hassle involved silent failures due to moving target sandboxing API whack-a-mole.

Previously, previously.

Tags: , , ,

From Beneath You It Devours

YseultCeirw:

Fairly certain that crude oil is a genuine eldritch horror.

  • lied in wait in the Earth's crust for literally millions of years
  • made from the dead bodies of creatures nobody in recorded history has ever seen alive
  • almost immediately granted us advanced technology
  • naturally occurring, yet has a scent incomparable to any other natural substance
  • pitch black liquid
  • kills anything it touches
  • using it to make anything kills everything it DOESN'T touch, but very slowly
  • inexplicably addictive to the money-poisoned
  • Is the cause of the mass extinction event we're currently experiencing, and that 95% of people are completely unaware of or outright deny.

ingdamnit:

we used to power things by whale souls then we found out there's a ton of souls trapped under the earth just waiting to be burnt

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , , , ,

Hilbert Tiles

FogleBird:

Previously, previously, previously.

Tags: ,

NROL-39

A vector PDF of the official mission logo of NROL-39. Released via a Freedom of Information Act request.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , , ,

Apple's war on their users continues apace

Great news everybody! XML is now deprecated!

Apple's latest desktop operating system update, macOS Catalina, will mark the official end of iTunes after nearly two decades.

This is a lie. Apple is not "replacing" iTunes. What they are doing is:

  1. Renaming iTunes.app to Music.app;
  2. Removing a bunch of features;
  3. Creating a new podcast player app, or some shit.

iTunes is effectively a part of the macOS kernel. It is the conduit through which the OS talks to the Apple store; through which new iOS devices are authorized, provisioned and upgraded; through which iOS devices are backed up; and through which Xcode installs and debugs software on development devices. They can't get rid of it. Their terrible kitchen-sink decisions of accretion mean that they are stuck with it forever and ever and ever, just like Finder.

So don't believe the marketing spin. They're just changing the name, and (as is their way) amputating a bunch of important, useful features that tons of people care about a lot, but which Apple got bored with supporting.

However, moving on:

But that transition is proving to be complicated for a certain subset of Mac users who've relied on the software to help manage their jobs: DJs.

According to Apple, along with Catalina's removal of iTunes, users are also losing XML file support as all native music playback on Macs moves over to the official Music app, which has a new library format. XML file support is a popular organizational feature for DJs who use it to sort tracks into playlists and utilize the "Share iTunes Library XML with other applications" option to seamlessly transmit data between apps.

Tons of popular DJ apps, like Rekordbox and Traktor, read XML files, and over the years, iTunes became the de facto way for lots of DJs to sort through their massive file libraries and quickly find tracks while performing.

But this means updating to Catalina will replace iTunes with Music, and that, in turn, will break communication between the app and many existing DJ softwares. According to Apple if a customer is reliant on XML files for DJing, they should avoid updating and continue using their preferred software on macOS Mojave until developers push out fixes.

"Push out fixes" here is a euphemism for "Apple has removed the API you've been using for a decade, so good luck figuring some new way to make your app work. Bye."

Remember, APIs only ever get less useful over time!

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

Tags: , , , , , ,

  • Previously