NASA's InSight Detects Two Sizable Quakes on Mars


NASA’s InSight lander has detected two strong, clear quakes originating in a location of Mars called Cerberus Fossae – the same place where two strong quakes were seen earlier in the mission. The new quakes have magnitudes of 3.3 and 3.1; the previous quakes were magnitude 3.6 and 3.5. InSight has recorded over 500 quakes to date, but because of their clear signals, these are four of the best quake records for probing the interior of the planet.

This is pretty cool to note. A seismically-active Mars makes for a slightly more viable colony location. Quakes mean the core is still molten to a degree, which acts as a dynamo to create the magnetic field that surrounds the planet. While there’s little we can do to increase the strength of a planet’s magnetic field1, being able to measure and determine the composition of Mars’ crust will go a long way to giving us the confidence we need in sending people there long term 🙂

  1. No, nukes won’t do it.

The End of AMP


I am hopeful that 2021 will be the beginning of the end for two of my least favorite things – the pandemic and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).

For the past few months, I’ve been focusing on Google’s Page Experience update due to launch in May and what it means for publishers. The largest and most talked-about item in the update is Google announcing that sites with passing core web vitals will receive a ranking boost on mobile. However, there is another important item in the update – the end of special treatment for AMP pages.

While the stated goal of AMP – making the web fast – sounds noble, AMP also came with the unfortunate requirement that publishers let traffic sources such as Google cache their content and serve it from their domain, such as In practice, this meant that when a user clicks on a search result from the BBC, they didn’t go to BBC’s website; they view a copy of the BBC’s content on AMP created all kinds of problems, from analytics to ad serving to logins. Perhaps most importantly, it created a temptation that even Google couldn’t resist – encouraging users to stay on Google instead of consuming more content on a publisher’s website.

AMP going away would be a nice thing. It didn’t really add much value to begin with. If Google wanted a less-heavy way of reading site content, they could have made better use of RSS. This would encourage sites to stop being stupid with their “partial feed” crap and encourage a more open Internet.

Of course, an open Internet would be “bad” for a lot of companies, Google being one of them. It’s really no wonder they do what they do, be it evil or just “evil in disguise” 😕

When will the snow end, and the art of STFU


The fact is: the Internet is getting much smaller. If you put something on a web page, chances are someone will find it. Maybe the right someone, maybe the wrong someone. If you wouldn’t want someone to find out you said something, then practice the art of STFU: DON’T PUT IT ON THE INTERNET.

Very true 🤐

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


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 …



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'


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


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


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


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


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 🤔