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09/29/2013

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09/29/2013

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#969; In which Aid is needed

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whoever clued this generation in that blind loyalty to an employer is a shell game deserves a quick kick in the teeth

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"There are two books in America: one for the poor and one for...

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"There are two books in America: one for the poor and one for the rich. The poor person does a crime, and gets 40 years. A rich person gets a slap on the wrist for the same crime. They say that the poor person doesn’t want to work and the poor person just wants a handout. Well I picked cotton until I was thirteen, left Alabama and got my education in the streets of New York. I drove a long distance truck all my life and never once drew welfare, never once took food stamps either. I sent four kids to college. But they say all poor people do is sit around with a quart of beer. Look in this bag next to me. I’ve got three things in this bag next to me: a Red Bull, a Pepsi, and Draino, because my drain is clogged. But you see, even if I do everything right, I still have to play by the poor book.”

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jhamill
1516 days ago
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This. Times a thousand. This. We should work on fixing this.
California

What is our basis for attacking Syria?

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I haven’t been following the news closely, but people have been asking for my opinion on Syria and whether or not an American military adventure is warranted.

What would be our basis for attacking people in Syria?

  1. Is it the case that the government there is less legitimate than other non-elected governments worldwide? (this Freedom House map shows that many parts of the world, including Syria, are “not free”)
  2. Is it that the government has been indiscriminate in its response to a rebellion? (but governments all over the world respond harshly to any challenge to their authority; the Sri Lankan Civil War resulted in a huge number of civilian deaths (see this article) and there were no calls for U.S. intervention; the American Civil War included actions that some consider to be war crimes (see this list))
  3. Is it that the government has used chemical weapons? (but note that Syria apparently has not signed any treaty regarding chemical weapons, according to Wikipedia)
  4. Is it that the U.S. has something to gain from a change in government in Syria?

And if we were to attack the Syrians, what would our goals be for the military operation? The fall of the existing government? To persuade the existing government to stop using chemical weapons (if indeed they have been using them)? I see in the news that President Obama has asked Congress to approve an attack on Syrians, but did he state an objective that the attacks were supposed to achieve?

Background: Wikipedia entry on the Syrian Civil War

[Separately,"U.S. Soldiers Find Surprise on Returning to Afghan Valley: Peace", from yesterday's New York Times, implies that people on the other side of the globe get along better without the U.S. military being involved.]

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GNU Tools Cauldron 2013

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Recently Google hosted just over 100 GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) developers at our Mountain View, CA headquarters for the 3rd annual GNU Tools Cauldron. The purpose of this 2+ day workshop was to gather GNU tools developers together to coordinate work, exchange reports on ongoing efforts, and discuss development plans for the next 12 months.

For me, the most interesting result was the final realization that GCC is once again in need of a major code base reorganization.  For several quarters we have been working on modernizing the codebase. We switched it to C++, we started converting core data structures and are beating the refactoring drum. All those efforts were not wasted and there are two major efforts in progress now that will fundamentally alter the structure of the compiler.

The one I'm most hopeful about is Red Hat's proposal to extend the modularization effort we had started last year. This will see the compiler split into hermetic modules that will only be able to communicate via well-defined interfaces (if you've ever hacked on GCC, you'll know how much this simplifies life).

The other, related, effort is the removal of all global state from the compiler.  The final goal is to allow the compiler to be turned into a shared library and used for JIT purposes.

Among my favorites of the videos of the presentations from the Cauldron are those dealing with this overhaul of the GCC codebase.  This is going to fundamentally transform GCC internals over the next couple of years. GCC 5.0 will be unrecognizable. Watch the videos on the removal of global state and GCC re-architecture.  Exciting stuff!

Another especially interesting moment at the Cauldron was when Dehao Chen presented his work on AutoFDO.  This work will significantly simplify the usability of FDO technologies.  I can't wait to see this submitted to trunk.

We also had the usual collection of presentations about optimizations, runtime BOFs, new features and “lively discussion” over meals.  Good, geeky times were had by all.

By Diego Novillo, Compiler team

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Partner of journalist detained for nine hours

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David Miranda (right) was detained at Heathrow for nine hours yesterday (Sunday 18 August 2013) under Section 7 of the Prevention of Terrorist Act. He was in transit from Berlin to his home in Brazil, and in the UK only to change planes. Miranda is the partner of journalist Glen Greenwald (left), who interviewed Edward Snowden (below) and has played a key role in the ongoing revelations about the NSA and GCHQ. Miranda had his phone and laptop confiscated, and has not been told when they will be returned. The photo shows Greenwald and Miranda at the airport in Rio di Janiero, today.

Glen Greenwald, responding to the arrest, wrote today:
It's bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It's worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. ...
If the UK and US governments believe that tactics like this are going to deter or intimidate us in any way from continuing to report aggressively on what these documents reveal, they are beyond deluded. If anything, it will have only the opposite effect: to embolden us even further. Beyond that, every time the US and UK governments show their true character to the world - when they prevent the Bolivian President's plane from flying safely home, when they threaten journalists with prosecution, when they engage in behavior like what they did today - all they do is helpfully underscore why it's so dangerous to allow them to exercise vast, unchecked spying power in the dark.
First report, from the Guardian.
Greenwald's response.
Live blog of ongoing reaction.
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