A note on "intent isn't magic"

Apr. 20th, 2014 05:34 pm
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
[personal profile] kaberett
Interestingly, this is one of the relatively few things my father got right in bringing us up - for values of "right" that do not include "actually expressing it well or compassionately", in that he tended to phrase it not as "intent isn't magic" but "intent doesn't matter".

I think this plays into some of what I've been working through. To use the treading-on-toes example, how badly something affects me has two components: the direct physical effect ("someone trod on my toe") and my emotional response ("and I'd repeatedly told this specific person that it's currently broken, and trusted them to be careful of that" has very different impact to "and they're a stranger on the tube").

Intent can't fix the direct damage (it isn't magic), but can be taken into account in modulating the emotional response of the person suffering it (intent can matter). However, whether it matters and how much it matters is entirely up to the person damaged: it does not automatically absolve the person who caused the damage.

It's about agency and respect and all that good stuff.
sunflowerinrain: Noodles and Pepper with toy ratty (cuddling cats)
[personal profile] sunflowerinrain
Noodles, being long-haired, often collects bits of plant as he wanders through the garden. He just came in with red flowers stuck in his tail. So pretty, but he removed them while I was fetching the camera.

mass spec theatre

Apr. 19th, 2014 01:45 pm
kaberett: A series of phrases commonly used in academic papers, accompanied by humourous "translations". (science!)
[personal profile] kaberett
Yesterday was immensely frustrating - the machine behaved beautifully Thursday, I was all set to get data yesterday, and then there was a two-second power cut at 1am and it's spent the subsequent 24 hours sulking and is finally finally finally giving me numbers that look as though they'll be usable - culminating in forgetting to take my bedmeds last night, which means I'm starting to get withdrawal symptoms. (They tend to start 12-18 hours after a missed dose, and involve going weird and light-headed and fuzzy. They're trivial to get rid of - take another tablet - but unfortunately there are reasons I take my psych meds at night, viz, they do a pretty good job of knocking me out; and I'm not sure which of "crashing out" and "brain zaps" is worse given the work I want to get done. So I am playing it by ear a bit, and if I decide it's necessary I'll split tonight's tablet, take half of it now, and catch up this evening.)

In any case, this means I'm going to be babysitting the mass spec today, if all continues well. What this means in practice is that I'm going to have very brief bursts of activity interspersed with a lot of sitting around by myself in a cellar, ergo it's time for: any questions answered.

[poem] The Accompanist

Apr. 18th, 2014 01:39 pm
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
[personal profile] kaberett
[The Accompanist]

Early nights and early mornings lend themselves to me
with a wry kindness about their eyebrows
tactfully not asking
what it is I'll have to sacrifice
to keep up with the interest.

I spend them
in cellars and in futile arguments
on crises of the flesh and of the faith
(not that either I or they discriminate)--

-- and in exchange, the reasons that I do:
quiet contemplation, data fresh from the machine--
moments spent in sitting with the sunlight and the trains--
and most of all because the child I was, made brave
by learning that the wide wild world had space
even for them (even for them!),
prefers to pay gifts forward than to try to make amends.

The music that we play in company's the richer
for the daring of the sharing of our lives.

Welcome to Portero

Apr. 18th, 2014 10:58 am
kaberett: Photo of a pile of old leather-bound books. (books)
[personal profile] kaberett
Do you like Night Vale? Do you like inexplicable creepy shit in small-town southern US?

Go read Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves.

Seriously, I cannot understand why the first I heard of this was it rocking up as part of the Humble Ebook Bundle just gone.

It is smalltown Texas. The Mayor is creepy and wrong. There are hidden doors, and keys made out of bone, and a very high body count.

Your protagonist, Hanna, is sixteen. She describes herself as biracial, bicultural, and manic-depressive. She is bilingual in Finnish and English. Her mum's an island girl.

The boy she ends up hanging out with is Latino. He is also bilingual, in Spanish and English.

Together, they fight crime inexplicable creepy shit, and meanwhile the Bechdel test gets passed every few pages.

Meanwhile, it's a book about abuse and parents and families and critique of the medical-industrial complex from the perspective of my personal is political and teenagers negotiating (complicated, not always happy) sex lives and trust and duty and survivors' guilt.

It has content notes for mental illness, self-harm, suicide, public executions, abusive parents, discussion of child sexual abuse, rape and torture (off-screen), involuntary commitment to inpatient psychiatric care (off-screen), and drug use. It's probably also worth flagging up that a slur used for newcomers to the town is "transy": it's short for "transient" (and this is made explicit) but I still flinched at it.

And in spite of all that I read it in one sitting and want more now. I am this close to e-mailing the publisher and suggesting they get Cecil Baldwin to read an audiobook version, because that is the best way I can think of to get it a much wider audience which it deserves.

[poem] w/hole-hearted

Apr. 18th, 2014 12:50 am
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
[personal profile] kaberett
for JJ, because how couldn't it be?

It's not the watching
of any one particular sunset
that's the thing:

it's finding time to breathe the steam that rises from your mug
to feel the warm seep into your cupped hands
to scribble in the margins of your day:

if every one's an island, then so what?
an island isn't ever watertight.

we're leaky vessels. so
drink your fill of sunlight--
and then go about your life.

[housekeeping] Heads-up

Apr. 18th, 2014 12:22 am
kaberett: A drawing of a black woman holding her right hand, minus a ring finger, in front of her face. "Oh, that. I cut it  off." (molly - cut it off)
[personal profile] kaberett
I'm going to be dropping my citalopram to my summer dosage a week on Monday, so the 28th of April.

If you spot me going a bit wrong and I don't seem to have noticed, I'd massively appreciate you pointing it out, but t'isn't any of your jobs; and I'll be self-monitoring with PHQ-9 all else aside.

(ps thank you to everyone going "what the fuck" about my GP; I think I'd got into learned-helplessness mode about the entire situation. I have Done Some Preliminary Investigation into potential replacements.)
tajasel: photo of me with a rainbow hat and big scarf on (Default)
[personal profile] tajasel
Everyone is home this weekend for a change, so we are all sitting down for a roast "like a family". It's my job to acquire the chicken. I was told to go out early before butcher ran out; I knew this wouldn't go well because I didn't sleep til 1am having taken Ritalin at 8pm.

But I didn't realise how little my brain would function.

Me: "I'm looking for a chicken."
Butcher: "What kind?"
Me: "…a dead one?"
Butcher: *falls apart laughing* "Medium or large?"

I need coffee.

fuck yeah experimental baking

Apr. 15th, 2014 09:11 pm
kaberett: a watercolour of a pale gold/salmon honeysuckle blossom against a background of green leaves (honeysuckle)
[personal profile] kaberett
250g butter
250g sugar
3 eggs
50g sachet coconut cream powder
250g self-raising flour
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lime

Mix together in the obvious order; bake at ~180degC until done. Fills a standard loaf tin nicely.

For an experiment designed to use up the sad citrus in the fridge, I am really pleased with this. To my astonishment it's great even without the lemon-lime-mint drizzle I was planning I kind of got distracted by the new Debian install on my main machine and forgot I was boiling syrup and it er

Here comes the sun

Apr. 15th, 2014 08:16 am
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
[personal profile] kaberett
It is light outside when I wake up for early starts. It is light while I eat breakfast, when I walk over the road to the station. I sit on the District line with sunshine through the windows: it's above ground between home and work. There's some clematis and - a plant I know only as "abominable potato weed", sorry[1] - growing enthusiastically in a garden that backs onto the platforms.

Breakfast was apple-and-pear juice, a beautifully ripe satsuma, and a pear and hazelnut muffin made for me by CN Lester because of the boything.

I finished reading Saladin Ahmed's Engraved on the Eye (free collection of short stories; it's fantastic). I turned to [personal profile] alexconall's poetry collection Lavender Blue (and other poems) (also available for free), discovered it's dedicated to me, and promptly burst into happy tears on the tube at 7am.

I got in to work in good time, via the gingko coming out outside the Royal Albert Hall and a string of beautiful I-believe-military horses being trotted down Exhibition Road. I've started my columns, and so far they're running nicely. I'm wearing Fils de Dieu and continuing to adore it. I'm reading Audre Lorde's The Black Unicorn in lab, and it's fantastic.

Today is pretty brilliant so far.


[1] It's not Lycianthes rantonnetii or Solanum rantonnetti ("Royal Robe"). Hmm. Looks like this var. "blue potato bush", but none of the other photos for that search term are quite right - it's definitely got the pointier petals that point back upwards, and the flower clusters. - ah ha! Solanum crispum 'Glasnevin', there we go. [ETA for interest -- my initial search term was "potato weed purple flowers" and that was the chain of results I followed to get an answer. :-) ]

This is genuinely a bit ridiculous

Apr. 14th, 2014 06:52 pm
kaberett: A stylised potato as background, overlaid with a list of its applications. (potatifesto)
[personal profile] kaberett
Things the tiny corner shops just over the road from my flat carry, apparently routinely:
  • garlic Lurpak
  • a flavour of innocent fruit juice that neither of the enormous 24-hour supermarkets on my way home does
  • Kidderton Ash
  • Little Black Bomber (not wildly over the odds)
  • live yoghurt
  • Swedish crispbread
  • rose water (ditto at neither of the big supermarkets)
  • string
  • sink plungers
ET CETERA.

I am not entirely sure I understand London.

That was my dream, once

Apr. 14th, 2014 05:47 pm
sunflowerinrain: Singing at the National Railway Museum (Default)
[personal profile] sunflowerinrain
Someone with whom I share tea orders has almost completed the renovation of a Heritage (= Listed) mansion and the place is opening soon as a small hotel and tea-room, all on ecologically-sound lines. It looks marvellous. I'm so pleased for her, and so envious...

http://www.domainedelestuaire.com/fr/

{scribbles}

Apr. 14th, 2014 04:31 pm
kaberett: A drawing of a black woman holding her right hand, minus a ring finger, in front of her face. "Oh, that. I cut it  off." (molly - cut it off)
[personal profile] kaberett
I think my absolute-necessaries list for GPs is:
  • not actively prejudiced about LGBT+ folk
  • willing to respect that I'm a scientist with a strong background in pharmacology
  • willing to genuinely collaborate with me on my healthcare, with the levels of trust (both ways) that that implies
  • not phased by medically complex patients
... and basically I just wish there was a mechanism by which I could interview GPs in the same way that I interview prospective counsellors -- the key point, of course, being that I want an NHS GP and have a private counsellor. Also, I really miss my old gynae.

Real-world Secure Boot attacks

Apr. 13th, 2014 09:43 pm
[personal profile] mjg59
MITRE gave a presentation on UEFI Secure Boot at SyScan earlier this month. You should read the the presentation and paper, because it's really very good.

It describes a couple of attacks. The first is that some platforms store their Secure Boot policy in a run time UEFI variable. UEFI variables are split into two broad categories - boot time and run time. Boot time variables can only be accessed while in boot services - the moment the bootloader or kernel calls ExitBootServices(), they're inaccessible. Some vendors chose to leave the variable containing firmware settings available during run time, presumably because it makes it easier to implement tools for modifying firmware settings at the OS level. Unfortunately, some vendors left bits of Secure Boot policy in this space. The naive approach would be to simply disable Secure Boot entirely, but that means that the OS would be able to detect that the system wasn't in a secure state[1]. A more subtle approach is to modify the policy, such that the firmware chooses not to verify the signatures on files stored on fixed media. Drop in a new bootloader and victory is ensured.

But that's not a beautiful approach. It depends on the firmware vendor having made that mistake. What if you could just rewrite arbitrary variables, even if they're only supposed to be accessible in boot services? Variables are all stored in flash, connected to the chipset's SPI controller. Allowing arbitrary access to that from the OS would make it straightforward to modify the variables, even if they're boot time-only. So, thankfully, the SPI controller has some control mechanisms. The first is that any attempt to enable the write-access bit will cause a System Management Interrupt, at which point the CPU should trap into System Management Mode and (if the write attempt isn't authorised) flip it back. The second is to disable access from the OS entirely - all writes have to take place in System Management Mode.

The MITRE results show that around 0.03% of modern machines enable the second option. That's unfortunate, but the first option should still be sufficient[2]. Except the first option requires on the SMI actually firing. And, conveniently, Intel's chipsets have a bit that allows you to disable all SMI sources[3], and then have another bit to disable further writes to the first bit. Except 40% of the machines MITRE tested didn't bother setting that lock bit. So you can just disable SMI generation, remove the write-protect bit on the SPI controller and then write to arbitrary variables, including the SecureBoot enable one.

This is, uh, obviously a problem. The good news is that this has been communicated to firmware and system vendors and it should be fixed in the future. The bad news is that a significant proportion of existing systems can probably have their Secure Boot implementation circumvented. This is pretty unsurprisingly - I suggested that the first few generations would be broken back in 2012. Security tends to be an iterative process, and changing a branch of the industry that's historically not had to care into one that forms the root of platform trust is a difficult process. As the MITRE paper says, UEFI Secure Boot will be a genuine improvement in security. It's just going to take us a little while to get to the point where the more obvious flaws have been worked out.

[1] Unless the malware was intelligent enough to hook GetVariable, detect a request for SecureBoot and then give a fake answer, but who would do that?
[2] Impressively, basically everyone enables that.
[3] Great for dealing with bugs caused by YOUR ENTIRE COMPUTER BEING INTERRUPTED BY ARBITRARY VENDOR CODE, except unfortunately it also probably disables chunks of thermal management and stops various other things from working as well.

[poetry] Audre Lorde

Apr. 13th, 2014 07:01 pm
kaberett: a watercolour painting of an oak leaf floating on calm water (leaf-on-water)
[personal profile] kaberett
Huh, apparently I haven't actually recced A Litany for Survival here, at least not any place I can find it readily? So let's start with that.

A Litany for Survival )

from Walking Our Boundaries

The sun is watery warm
our voices
seem too loud for this small yard
too tentative for women
so in love
the siding has come loose in spots
our footsteps hold this place
together
as our place
our joint decisions make the possible
whole.
I do not know when
we shall laugh again
but next week
we will spade up another plot
for this spring's seeding.


from Eulogy for Alvin Frost )
such_heights: amy pond wearing glasses and laughing (who: amy [giggle])
[personal profile] such_heights
The show I'm putting together for Vidukon this year is called Same Song, Different Source, which is just what it sounds like. I want take a look at the different ways vidders use the same audio to different effects and how different the tone of a vid can be based on editing choices/lyric interpretation etc.

This is a harder one that usual to solicit recs for, but I thought I'd give it a go! I'd love recs for pairs of vids that use the same song (can definitely be different covers/instrumental version etc) where there's some kind of interesting contrast, whether in the source, the mood, the interpretation of the lyrics, etc. Alternatively, recs for single vids that use a song in an unusual way could be helpful, if it's likely the song has been vidded multiple times.

The more the merrier, so any ideas that spring to mind, I'd love to hear them! Thanks!

(I'm just going to go back to having a crisis over how to pick only two Handlebars vids.)