The War on Privacy

Last week the Australian Government passed the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018, which allows certain government agencies to issue secret notices compelling Australian IT workers and software developers to insert secret malicious code into any software or computer systems, for the purpose of gaining access to the content of encrypted messages on the computers and smartphones of their users. This law is in effect right now. The next time you download an update for the banking app on your smartphone, or operating system updates for Windows and MacOS, or a firmware update for your modem/router, or a game update on your Playstation, your device might also be implanted with a secret backdoor enabling remote access and monitoring. I could be forced to add malicious code to this blog and it would be illegal for me to refuse, or to warn you about it. You can no longer trust any computer hardware or software that is created, configured, or sold by someone living under the legal jurisdiction of Australia. This is kind of a big deal.

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Accelerated R with CUDA on Linux

The R programming language uses Basic Linear Algebra Subprograms (BLAS) for performing common linear algebra operations such as vector addition, scalar multiplication, dot products, linear combinations, and matrix multiplication. R includes Netlib BLAS by default. Significant performance gains can be achieved by replacing that with a different BLAS library such as OpenBLAS or ATLAS.

Further gains are possible by intercepting certain calls to BLAS with NVIDIA’s NVBLAS. Operations that can benefit from running on a GPU will be automatically redirected to cuBLAS without any modification to your R code.

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External GPU with Thunderbolt 3

The AKiTiO Node Thunderbolt 3 eGFX Box is a 7Kg black metal powered external enclosure for connecting a full-size graphical processing unit (GPU) to any computer with a Thunderbolt 3 port. The front 12cm fan can be removed to make room for a water cooling radiator. The carry handle helps it to be more portable than a full tower PC, although it is bigger in real life than it seems in photos.

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Scientific consensus: Earth’s climate is warming

NOTE: This is a mirror of the page climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus on 2016-12-16, posted here for safe keeping.

Temperature data from four international science institutions. All show rapid warming in the past few decades and that the last decade has been the warmest on record. Data sources: NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NOAA National Climatic Data Center, Met Office Hadley Centre/Climatic Research Unit and the Japanese Meteorological Agency.
Temperature data from four international science institutions. All show rapid warming in the past few decades and that the last decade has been the warmest on record. Data sources: NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NOAA National Climatic Data Center, Met Office Hadley Centre/Climatic Research Unit and the Japanese Meteorological Agency.

Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals1 show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. The following is a partial list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources.
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Internet Surveillance News

25 Apr 2015 Pirate Party Australia’s guide to protecting your online privacy under the Australian government’s new mandatory data retention scheme.

25 May 2015 Senator Scott Ludlam learned about Tor, VPNs, PGP and OTR at a cryptoparty in Sydney.

28 May 2015 Apple co-found Steve Wozniak says Australia’s data retention laws are unethical.

31 May 2015 Information about Australia’s Pine Gap spy base, and its role in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance.

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TCCON

The Total Carbon Column Observing Network (TCCON) is a global network of instruments that measure the amount of carbon dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide and other trace gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. There are two TCCON instruments in Australia: Darwin and Wollongong (and one nearby in Lauder, New Zealand).

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Visualising OCO-2 XCO2 in R with DeltaRho

NASA JPL’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 (OCO-2) was launched into sun-synchronous orbit around the Earth on July 2, 2014. It carries 3 grated spectrometers for measuring the spectrum of sunlight reflected off the surface of the earth, which is used to calculate the average concentration of Carbon Dioxide in the column of atmosphere beneath the satellite (XCO2). It takes 16 days to provide full coverage of the Earth’s surface.

I am using the R packages datadr and Trelliscope from the DeltaRho project (formerly called Tessera.io) to explore and visualise the XCO2 observations from the OCO-2 Level 2 Lite version 7R data product.

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