Shortlog - a log of everyday things



Kenghao and I have submitted our proposal for the 2011 Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship competition. Woohoo, it's done.

My high-resolution support patches have landed in the unstable branch of libfreenect, which means I've broken everything thoroughly. On the upside, I've gotten some great feedback on my patchset, including at least one successful tester on Windows (which I never so much as tried to compile on), and some great discussion on acceptable API changes.

I also learned today that the guy who has taken a leading role on maintaining the wiki and FAQ for OpenKinect as well as answering lots of questions on IRC doesn't even have a Kinect. Nonetheless, he manages to help bunches of people with their issues. He's just really observant (he's pointed out inconsistencies in our documentation that I missed) and remembers what other people say, so he can share solutions to the same issues. I am thoroughly impressed. bankP (his IRC name) is a wonderful example of the fact that you don't have to be a software developer to contribute to and make an impact on the open-source community.

Bruce Schneier wrote an interesting article on why society and security is tougher in the developed world.

There have been tons of articles on the recent series of events regarding Anonymous and HBGary. While I won't go into the details of how the security firm got their servers hacked and tens of thousands of emails leaked (by a group of 5 people, including a 16-year-old girl), I do find it worth discussing what has come to light as a result: corruption.

What sort of corruption, you ask? Mafia-like tactics being leveraged by our government and large corporations against their opposition. This report is an excellent overview of what's been discovered. In particular, Bank of America and the US Chamber of Commerce both hired Hunton and Williams to solicit proposals to deal with Wikileaks and critics of the Chamber. A team of three companies - HBGary, Palantir Technologies, and Berico Technologies - submitted a proposal that included offensive tactics against individuals, suggesting that they should "target opponents' personal lives and family".

It's interesting to note that while Palantir and Berico have since both severed ties with HBGary and denied involvement in such proposals, the leaked emails (full site here) strongly suggest otherwise. Oh, and then after vehemently denying involvement in the Wikileaks proposal, Palantir disciplines an employee for involvement in the Wikileaks proposal. I DETECT AN INCONSISTENCY IN YOUR STORY.

I'm alarmed that our government and corporations are stooping to such tactics. I've got so many questions. What has happened to the concept of honor, or integrity? Where is transparency and accountability? Why did it take the efforts of a group of hackers engaging in retaliation to stumble upon this? Is this an isolated instance, or are these sorts of tactics systemic in our government?

Finally, one more question I'm almost afraid to know the answer to: if we had more transparency in our governments and corporations, what else would we find?


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Sarah Luna | 2011-02-16T06:35:42.068024

Ok, I know it's on that flashcard I gave you, but you really need to read A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn.