Wednesday, August 19, 2015

And the award for the most ironic statement goes to... unnamed individual, self-identified as "Eagle One", who was defending a "Muslim-free" gun range:

I will fight to the death for someone’s right to practice whatever religion they want to. I’m not here because of that. I’m here because when people start resorting to violence, we can’t allow that.” [emphasis added]
The amount of self-unawareness it takes to say something like that while defending a gun range is truly staggering.  What exactly does Eagle One think guns are for?

Oh, the reason this is a story?  One of the clowns defending the gun range accidentally shot himself.  No, really.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

PSA: Beware of sudo on OS X

There's a little kerfuffle going on over on HN about a newly discovered local root exploit on OS X 10.10.5, so I thought this might be a good time to make sure everyone is aware of something that I just discovered myself a few days ago: Apple ships sudo with tty_tickets disabled by default.  What this means is that if you use sudo to give yourself root privileges, your sudo authentication is not bound to the TTY in which you ran sudo.  It applies to any process you (or malware running as you) start after authentication.  The way Apple ships sudo it is, essentially, a giant privilege escalation vulnerability.  To see this: open two terminal windows and run sudo in both of them.  Only the first one will ask for your password.

It's easy to fix.  Just run visudo and add this line:
Defaults tty_tickets

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Ayn Rand destroyed in six words

Sorry if I'm stepping over the line in terms of tooting my own horn here, but I'm kinda proud of this.  User CWuestefeld over on Hacker News wrote this comment on a thread about bee colony collapse:
[T]his isn't a shortcoming of the market as such. It's a failure in conjunction of our incomplete recognition of private property rights. By preventing certain types of property from having private ownership, we don't allow the market to correct itself. More specifically, if we had some private entity or entities that were recognized as the owners of air or water, then they would be able to recover damages from the polluters, thus removing ability to externalize the cost of pollution.  [Emphasis added.]
To which I replied:
I volunteer to be that entity.
Those six words have gotten more upvotes than any other comment I have ever posted on HN :-)

Friday, August 07, 2015

So that's what an enclave is!

Three years ago I wrote about some little bits of one country that are completely surrounded by another country.  Turns out I didn't have a clue.  Such things are far more common than I thought.  They even have a name: they are called enclaves.  And there are even second- and third-order enclaves, i.e. a piece of one country that is surrounded by a piece of another country that is surrounded by a piece of the first country that is surrounded by the second country.

AFAICT the motherlode of enclaves is on the border between India and Bangladesh.  The northern edge (if you can even call it that) of that border is so riddled with enclaves it looks like a Swiss cheese.  Or maybe a fractal.

What brought this to my attention is this story in the Washington Post about a third-order enclave that is going away due to the resolution of a long running border dispute between India and Bangladesh.  I don't really have anything to say about it, but I thought it was interesting so I thought I'd share.