Red Hat statement about Richard Stallman's return to the Free Software Foundation board

(www.redhat.com)

Red Hat is a long-time donor and contributor to projects stewarded by the Free Software Foundation (FSF), with hundreds of contributors and millions of lines of code contributed. Considering the circumstances of Richard Stallman's original resignation in 2019, Red Hat was appalled to learn that he had rejoined the FSF board of directors. As a result, we are immediately suspending all Red Hat funding of the FSF and any FSF-hosted events. In addition, many Red Hat contributors have told us they no longer plan to participate in FSF-led or backed events, and we stand behind them.

And so it begins …

Hideki

(daily.matigo.ca)

The temperature in the city reached a high of 3˚C today and is expected to sit at 0˚ or below for the rest of the week with occasional bouts of snow. Very rarely does the weather in this part of the country get so chilly. So, while out with Nozomi, I picked up two hot drinks at a nearby vending machine. One for me, and one for Hideki; the homeless man who lives under a bridge near my home.

I recently listened to this old episode of DDM because today I learned that Hideki passed away in January while sleeping under the bridge near the place I used to live.

He rejected technology. He rejected modern living. He was angry about machines replacing people, a pattern we’ve seen repeated over thousands of years. He was angry at his ex-wife. He was angry at his previous employers. He was angry at the government. He was happy, though, when Nozomi and I would pay a visit with something to drink and a few minutes of conversation. I couldn’t understand everything he said, but I understood that he was someone unlike anyone I had ever met before. He chose to be homeless out of principle. His principles, but principle nonetheless.

And now he’s gone. The winter temperatures were a bit too much and he froze while I slept comfortably in a bed heated by an electric blanket.

Sometimes I wonder if I’m investing my time properly. Yeah, my family is taken care of, but there are a lot of people who could do with some basics … assuming they will elect to accept them.

Jordan Peterson recalls waking from coma, confused, tethered and 'surrounded by people speaking a foreign language'

(nationalpost.com)

A year ago, Jordan Peterson woke from a coma in a hospital in Russia strapped to a bed, bewildered and angry and holding little memory of what had gone on since he went to a Toronto hospital two months before.

“I was confused and frustrated not knowing where I was, surrounded by people speaking a foreign language,” he wrote.

iPhone zero-click Wi-Fi exploit is one of the most breathtaking hacks ever

(arstechnica.com)

Earlier this year, Apple patched one of the most breathtaking iPhone vulnerabilities ever: a memory corruption bug in the iOS kernel that gave attackers remote access to the entire device—over Wi-Fi, with no user interaction required at all. Oh, and exploits were wormable—meaning radio-proximity exploits could spread from one near-by device to another, once again, with no user interaction needed.

This Wi-Fi packet of death exploit was devised by Ian Beer, a researcher at Project Zero, Google’s vulnerability research arm. In a 30,000-word post published on Tuesday afternoon, Beer described the vulnerability and the proof-of-concept exploit he spent six months developing single handedly. Almost immediately, fellow security researchers took notice.

Wow. That’s a fine piece of work 😮

Arecibo radio telescope's massive instrument platform has collapsed

(arstechnica.com)

On Monday night, the enormous instrument platform that hung over the Arecibo radio telescope's big dish collapsed due to the failure of the remaining cables supporting it. The risk of this sort of failure was the key motivation behind the National Science Foundation's recent decision to shut down the observatory, as the potential for collapse made any attempt to repair the battered scope too dangerous for the people who would do the repairs.

That’s that, it seems. The radio telescope is no more. 😕

Conrad Black: There's much to celebrate in Sir John A. Macdonald's legacy

(nationalpost.com)

The heroes of the month among Canada’s elected officials must be the councillors of Prince Edward County, Ont., who voted last week to retain the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald on the main street of Picton. There was the now customary agitation to remove the statue because of Macdonald’s allegedly oppressive conduct toward the Native people. Coun. Philip St. Jean led the retention argument, stating that the statue in such a prominent location fosters education and curiosity about the history of the country. One of the interveners at the public hearing that determined the issue has two Cree daughters and said that the statue is “a symbol of colonialism, patriarchy and white supremacy. Taking down a statue because we are recognizing the truth of the impact this man and his policies had, and has on Indigenous people, has a feeling of reconciliation to me. But to be clear, it is only a baby step towards true reconciliation; it is a gesture.”

This encapsulates the current self-induced national moral weakness: nativist advocates think that removing an effigy of the founder of our country and someone who was regarded by his peers in the time of Lincoln, Palmerston, Disraeli, Gladstone and Bismarck as a great statesman is required because of largely unspecified offences in one policy area of his 28 years as head of Canada’s government (the so-called United Province of Canada, and then the Dominion of Canada), and even that would be a mere “gesture.” “Reconciliation” evidently consists of abject self-humiliation by the 95 per cent of Canadians who are not descended from the Indigenous peoples, and we have become so quaveringly enfeebled, we are expected to submit to this. […]

The Prince Edward County intervener’s claim that Macdonald represented “colonialism patriarchy, and white supremacy” was an outrage. Macdonald ended Canada’s colonial status and was the benign and democratically elevated patriarch of the country he chiefly founded, including all of its races and ethnicities. Whites were 98 per cent of Canadians at that time but in the intervening years Canada has welcomed others with open arms and in great numbers. The Natives of Canada have many legitimate grievances that have to be addressed generously and without condescension. But they might occasionally remember the many advances the colonists brought with them, to what was essentially a stone age society, and the great, peaceful country that has evolved since. My friend Prof. Joe Martin (Rotman School of Business, U of T), and I spoke at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., two years ago opposing the removal of Sir John A. Macdonald’s name from the law faculty of that university. Macdonald represented Kingston as a legislator for 47 years. It has now been removed and the cowards responsible should be ashamed of themselves and not of the greatly distinguished founder of our country.
Conrad Black

This is one of the biggest problems that energized activists face: a shocking lack of knowledge.

If there are genuine grievances related to the prominent display of a historical figure, then people absolutely have the right to present their case and have it discussed. What I see with a lot of the activists, however, is a case based more on hearsay and raw emotion than carefully considered rational thought. By not presenting their case as an adult, there is little reason for people to take the issue seriously. In the case of Sir John A. Macdonald, the founder of Canada, there is a lot more good that he did than not, even by today’s moral standards.

People really need to learn about history and look at people and events contextually before demanding names be struck from buildings and statues topples and beheaded 😑

Thanksgiving eve was the busiest air travel day of the pandemic, despite health warnings

(www.washingtonpost.com)

The busiest air travel day of the coronavirus pandemic came on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, with 1,070,967 passengers clearing airport security.

It was the third time in one week that the Transportation Security Administration reported screening more than 1 million daily passengers — a milestone that airports have rarely seen since the pandemic slashed air travel in March.

This is interesting, as I had figured more people would be driving. Any flight less than 1000km can probably be done by car just as quickly and with less stress 🤔

Massive, China-state-funded hack hits companies around the world, report says

(arstechnica.com)

“Japan-linked organizations need to be on alert as it is clear they are a key target of this sophisticated and well-resourced group, with the automotive industry seemingly a key target in this attack campaign,” researchers from security firm Symantec wrote in a report. “However, with the wide range of industries targeted by these attacks, Japanese organizations in all sectors need to be aware that they are at risk of this kind of activity.”

I wonder if this is why my network is seeing a lot more external traffic, but fewer HTTP requests. From what I can tell, the firewall is doing its job, though …

Apple drops its cut of App Store revenues from 30% to 15% for some developers

(arstechnica.com)

The cut benefits only developers who pull in less than $1 million annually.

Hmm … this is an interesting way to appease antitrust lawsuits while simultaneously giving Epic and Spotify the bum end of the deal 🤔

Advancing gender equality in Canadian workplaces

(www.thespec.com)

Much progress has been made over the last 40 years on gender equality in Canada, but the gender wage gap remains a reality. Making sure all people receive equal pay for work of equal value is not only a moral imperative, it is an economic advantage. When people feel they are competing on an even playing field, it unlocks their enthusiasm, encourages their creativity and pushes them to reach their optimal potential.

Over the years, greater participation of women in the workforce has accounted for about one-third of Canada’s economic growth. Despite this progress, the gender wage gap persists. Based on the most recent data, Canadian women earned 89 cents for every dollar Canadian men earned.

There are several leaps in logic here that require people to suspend any expectation of context or situational awareness. One of the big ones is “employment experience”. Women generally have several years less employment experience than men of the same age due to the challenges of raising young children. Based on the numbers that the government themselves publish, men with five fewer years experience in a field earn, on average, 15~20% less than their more experienced counterparts. A 25 year old man earns less than a 30 year old man, who earns less than a 40 year old man, who earns less than a 50 year old man.

To ensure women receive equal pay for work of equal value, we developed the Pay Equity Act (the Act), which is expected to come into force later next year in federally regulated workplaces. However, before the Act comes into force, regulations that will complete the pay equity regime need to be finalized.

This is going to be really hard to validate. How does one judge the equality of work? Is it by job title? Is it by task? Could a database administrator who maintains a system be considered “less valuable” than a database administrator who architects a system? Both jobs are crucial, but one requires an additional skill set over the other.

These initiatives will help create workplaces where workers feel safer, more valued, more included and secure. Creating these enhanced conditions will enable and encourage workers to do their best work, which is a net positive for employers and the economy.

Where is the evidence for this? History has shown that the companies who flatten their pay scales do a couple of things:

  1. They unnecessarily devalue the efforts of high performers, regardless of genetic configuration
  2. They encourage people to forfeit overtime, as one person working overtime creates an imbalance in the group or, worse, overtime efforts are pooled and split evenly across all members of the group, rewarding the laziest and punishing the foolhardy
  3. They drive the highest performers away, reducing the effectiveness of the organization

Canada already has a serious “brain-drain” problem. These “equality of outcome” situations only exacerbate it.

We are also moving forward with a new Administrative Monetary Penalties regime to help create safer and more just working conditions through improved compliance with the Canada Labour Code.

In other words, pay that is aligned with effort is illegal.

These initiatives for greater workplace safety, wage equality and pay transparency by our government constitute a new approach to fairness in the workplace. We have taught our children that equality is a given and not a debate. It is time to show that we practice what we preach when it comes to equality in the workforce.

There is a lie in here. Equality is not a given; it is a responsibility. Equality of opportunity is the responsibility of all people, regardless of who seeks that opportunity. Equality of outcome is an impossible lie that disincentivizes entire societies. We’ve seen this before in Soviet Russia, Maoist China, Polpot’s Cambodia …

Equality of outcome is effectively a death sentence for creative output across all fields.

There is no doubt in my mind that a person who does a task should be paid according to the value they bring an organization. Their gender, appearance, political stance, or ideological beliefs should not even come into the equation because there’s no justification for it. However, to think that every person with a specific job title is just as valuable as another is an outright lie and it should be called out as such.

Bill C-65 is a whole lot of evil codified in law, and it’s going to kill any reason for truly remarkable Canadians to bust their butt to excel at something they consider valuable. Why in the world would anyone want to put in 80 hour weeks if their pay will be exactly the same as someone with the same job title who is in the office for 40 hours and maybe works for 5 of those hours?