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1 1,006 shares, 121 trendiness

Netlify just sent me a $104K bill for a simple static site

So I re­ceived an email from Netlify last week­end say­ing that I have a $104,500.00 bill over­due. At first I thought this is a joke or some scam email but af­ter check­ing my dash­board it seems like I am truly ow­ing them 104K dol­lars:

So I was like 😅😅😅 and think okay maybe I got ddos at­tacked. Since Netlify charges 55$/100GB for the ex­ceed­ing band­width, the peak day Feb 16 has 33385/55 * 100GB = 60.7TB band­width in a day. I mean, it’s not im­pos­si­ble but why at­tack a sim­ple sta­tic site like mine? This site has been on Netlify for 4 years and is al­ways okay with the free tier. The monthly band­width never ex­ceeded even 10GB, and has only ~200 daily vis­i­tors.

I con­tacted their billing sup­port and they re­sponded me that they looked into it and the band­width came from some user agents, mean­ing it is a ddos at­tack. Then they say such cases hap­pen and they usu­ally charge their cus­tomer 20% on this. And since my amount is too large, they of­fer to dis­count to 5%, which means I still need to pay 5 thou­sand dol­lars.

This feels more like a scam to me. Why do server­less plat­forms like Netlify and Vercel not have ddos pro­tec­tion, or at least a spend limit? They should have alerted me if the spend­ing sky­rock­eted. I checked my in­box and spam folder and found noth­ing. The only email is Extra us­age pack­age pur­chased for band­width”. It feels like they de­lib­er­ately not sup­port these fea­tures so that they can cash grab in sit­u­a­tions like this.

The ddos at­tack was fo­cused on a file on my site. Yes it’s partly my fault to put a 3.44MB size sound file on my site rather than us­ing a third-party plat­form like SoundCloud. But still this does­n’t in­val­i­date the point of hav­ing pro­tec­tion against such at­tacks, and limit the spend­ing.

I haven’t paid that $5k yet and de­cided to post here to hear what oth­ers think first. And yes I have mi­grated my site to Cloudflare. Learned my les­son and will never use Netlify (or even Vercel) again.

UPDATE: Thank you all for the sug­ges­tions I have posted this on HackerNews.

UPDATE: Here’s the email re­sponse I got from their billing sup­port:

I have taken down that .mp3 file but still, it’s only 3.44MB size and I don’t think it’s en­tirely my fault leav­ing it there.


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2 573 shares, 14 trendiness

Au Large

Mistral Large is our flag­ship model, with top-tier rea­son­ing ca­pac­i­ties. It is also avail­able on Azure.

We are re­leas­ing Mistral Large, our lat­est and most ad­vanced lan­guage model. Mistral Large is avail­able through la Plateforme. We are also mak­ing it avail­able through Azure, our first dis­tri­b­u­tion part­ner. Mistral Large is our new cut­ting-edge text gen­er­a­tion model. It reaches top-tier rea­son­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties. It can be used for com­plex mul­ti­lin­gual rea­son­ing tasks, in­clud­ing text un­der­stand­ing, trans­for­ma­tion, and code gen­er­a­tion.Mis­tral Large achieves strong re­sults on com­monly used bench­marks, mak­ing it the world’s sec­ond-ranked model gen­er­ally avail­able through an API (next to GPT-4) [see be­low for de­tails on bench­marks].Fig­ure 1: Comparison of GPT-4, Mistral Large (pre-trained), Claude 2, Gemini Pro 1.0, GPT 3.5 and LLaMA 2 70B on MMLU (Measuring mas­sive mul­ti­task lan­guage un­der­stand­ing).Mis­tral Large comes with new ca­pa­bil­i­ties and strengths:It is na­tively flu­ent in English, French, Spanish, German, and

Italian, with a nu­anced un­der­stand­ing of gram­mar and cul­tural con­text.Its 32K to­kens con­text win­dow al­lows pre­cise in­for­ma­tion re­call from large doc­u­ments.Its pre­cise in­struc­tion-fol­low­ing en­ables de­vel­op­ers to de­sign their mod­er­a­tion poli­cies — we used it to set up the sys­tem-level mod­er­a­tion of le Chat.It is na­tively ca­pa­ble of func­tion call­ing. This, along with con­strained out­put mode, im­ple­mented on la Plateforme, en­ables ap­pli­ca­tion de­vel­op­ment and tech stack mod­erni­sa­tion at scale.Part­ner­ing with Microsoft to pro­vide our mod­els on AzureAt Mistral, our mis­sion is to make fron­tier AI ubiq­ui­tous. This is why we’re an­nounc­ing to­day that we’re bring­ing our open and com­mer­cial mod­els to Azure. Microsoft’s trust in our model is a step for­ward in our jour­ney! Our mod­els are now avail­able through:La Plateforme: safely hosted on Mistral’s in­fra­struc­ture in Europe, this ac­cess point en­ables de­vel­op­ers to cre­ate ap­pli­ca­tions and ser­vices across our com­pre­hen­sive range of mod­els.Azure: Mistral Large is avail­able through Azure AI Studio and Azure

Machine Learning, with as seam­less a user ex­pe­ri­ence as our APIs. Beta cus­tomers have used it with sig­nif­i­cant suc­cess.Self-de­ploy­ment: our mod­els can be de­ployed on your en­vi­ron­ment for the most sen­si­tive use cases with ac­cess to our model weights; Read suc­cess sto­ries on this kind of de­ploy­ment, and con­tact our team for fur­ther de­tails.We com­pare Mistral Large’s per­for­mance to the top-lead­ing LLM mod­els on com­monly used bench­marks.Mis­tral Large shows pow­er­ful rea­son­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties. In the fol­low­ing fig­ure, we re­port the per­for­mance of the pre­trained mod­els on stan­dard bench­marks.Fig­ure 2: Performance on wide­spread com­mon sense, rea­son­ing and knowl­edge bench­marks of the top-lead­ing LLM mod­els on the mar­ket: MMLU (Measuring mas­sive mul­ti­task lan­guage in un­der­stand­ing), HellaSwag (10-shot), Wino Grande (5-shot), Arc Challenge (5-shot), Arc Challenge (25-shot), TriviaQA (5-shot) and TruthfulQA.Mistral Large has na­tive multi-lin­gual ca­pac­i­ties. It strongly out­per­forms LLaMA 2 70B on HellaSwag, Arc Challenge and MMLU bench­marks in French, German, Spanish and Italian.Figure 3: Comparison of Mistral Large, Mixtral 8x7B and LLaMA 2 70B on HellaSwag, Arc Challenge and MMLU in French, German, Spanish and Italian.Mistral Large shows top per­for­mance in cod­ing and math tasks. In the table be­low, we re­port the per­for­mance across a suite of pop­u­lar bench­marks to eval­u­ate the cod­ing and math per­for­mance for some of the top-lead­ing LLM mod­els.Fig­ure 4: Performance on pop­u­lar cod­ing and math bench­marks of the lead­ing LLM mod­els on the mar­ket: HumanEval pass@1, MBPP pass@1, Math maj@4, GSM8K maj@8 (8-shot) and GSM8K maj@1 (5 shot).Along­side Mistral Large, we’re re­leas­ing a new op­ti­mised model, Mistral Small, op­ti­mised for la­tency and cost. Mistral Small out­per­forms Mixtral 8x7B and has lower la­tency, which makes it a re­fined in­ter­me­di­ary so­lu­tion be­tween our open-weight of­fer­ing and our flag­ship model.Mis­tral Small ben­e­fits from the same in­no­va­tion as Mistral Large re­gard­ing RAG-enablement and func­tion call­ing.We’re sim­pli­fy­ing our end­point of­fer­ing to pro­vide the fol­low­ing:Open-weight end­points with com­pet­i­tive pric­ing. This com­prises

open-mis­tral-7B and open-mix­tral-8x7b.New op­ti­mised model end­points, mis­tral-small-2402 and mis­tral-large-2402. We’re main­tain­ing mis­tral-medium, which we are not up­dat­ing to­day.Be­yond the new model of­fer­ing, we’re al­low­ing or­gan­i­sa­tion man­age­ment multi-cur­rency pric­ing and have up­dated ser­vice tiers on la Plateforme. We have also made a lot of progress in re­duc­ing the la­tency of all our end­points.JSON for­mat mode forces the lan­guage model out­put to be valid JSON. This func­tion­al­ity en­ables de­vel­op­ers to in­ter­act with our mod­els more nat­u­rally to ex­tract in­for­ma­tion in a struc­tured for­mat that can be eas­ily used in the re­main­der of their pipelines.Func­tion call­ing lets de­vel­op­ers in­ter­face Mistral end­points with a set of their own tools, en­abling more com­plex in­ter­ac­tions with in­ter­nal code, APIs or data­bases. You will learn more in our func­tion

call­ing guide.Func­tion call­ing and JSON for­mat are only avail­able on mis­tral-small and mis­tral-large. We will be adding for­mat­ting to all end­points shortly, as well as en­abling more fine-grained for­mat de­f­i­n­i­tions.Mis­tral Large is avail­able on La Plateforme and Azure as of to­day. Mistral Large is also ex­posed on our beta as­sis­tant demon­stra­tor, le

Chat. As al­ways, we’re ea­ger to have your feed­back!


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3 554 shares, 23 trendiness

How to find the AWS Account ID of any S3 Bucket

How to find the AWS Account ID of any S3 BucketIn 2021 Ben Bridts pub­lished a highly in­ven­tive method for find­ing the AWS Account ID of a pub­lic S3 bucket. This post de­scribes a tech­nique to find the Account ID of any S3 bucket (both pri­vate and pub­lic).I’d highly rec­om­mend read­ing Ben’s tech­nique first as we will re-use a lot of con­cepts.Shell out­put can be worth a thou­sand words, here’s what our tech­nique en­ables - find­ing the pre­vi­ously un­known AWS Account ID for the bucket bucket-al­pha:sh-5.2$ python3 find-s3-ac­count.py bucket-al­pha

VPC end­point vpce-0e76855aad­b0dafb5 pol­icy al­ready con­fig­ured

Requesting bucket-al­pha us­ing ses­sion name 0–––––-

Requesting bucket-al­pha us­ing ses­sion name 1–––––-

Requesting bucket-al­pha us­ing ses­sion name 2–––––-

Requesting bucket-al­pha us­ing ses­sion name 3–––––-


Requesting bucket-al­pha us­ing ses­sion name –––––-7

Requesting bucket-al­pha us­ing ses­sion name –––––-8

Requesting bucket-al­pha us­ing ses­sion name –––––-9

Finding ses­sion names which passed the VPC end­point in CloudTrail…

Found –––––-1 for bucket-al­pha in CloudTrail

Found ––––-1– for bucket-al­pha in CloudTrail

Found ––––9–- for bucket-al­pha in CloudTrail

Found ––-6––– for bucket-al­pha in CloudTrail

Found –3––––- for bucket-al­pha in CloudTrail

Found -2––––– for bucket-al­pha in CloudTrail

Found 1–––––- for bucket-al­pha in CloudTrail

Found –––––0- for bucket-al­pha in CloudTrail

Found –––-8–– for bucket-al­pha in CloudTrail

Found –––7––- for bucket-al­pha in CloudTrail

Found ––5–––- for bucket-al­pha in CloudTrail

Found –-4–––– for bucket-al­pha in CloudTrail

Bucket bucket-al­pha: 123456789101How ex­actly does this work?When ex­plor­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties for this tech­nique, I started by break­ing down ex­actly why Ben’s method works. There are three key el­e­ments which com­bine to make it work:The abil­ity to ap­ply an IAM pol­icy to the re­questIn the Ben’s tech­nique, this is achieved by ap­ply­ing a cus­tom pol­icy when as­sum­ing the role.The abil­ity to in­fer whether this IAM pol­icy per­mit­ted the re­quest or notIn the case of pub­lic buck­ets, this is quite sim­ple. If our pol­icy blocked the re­quest, the re­quest will fail with AccessDenied. Otherwise, the re­quest will suc­ceed as ex­pected with re­quests to pub­lic buck­ets.The abil­ity to ap­ply a wild­card match on the s3:Re­sourceAc­count con­di­tion keyThis al­lows us to dis­cover the Account ID in­cre­men­tally, one digit at a time, re­duc­ing the search space from tril­lions to hun­dreds.Af­ter ex­plor­ing a few dif­fer­ent ideas, I found a so­lu­tion which works. It in­volves us­ing a VPC Endpoint for S3, and a dif­fer­ence of be­hav­iour in CloudTrail when a re­quest is de­nied by a VPC Endpoint pol­icy.The abil­ity to ap­ply an IAM pol­icy to the re­quest­Cre­at­ing a VPC Endpoint of type Interface” for S3 will al­low us to ap­ply an IAM pol­icy to the re­quest. This pol­icy in­ter­sects with the other poli­cies which ap­ply to the re­quest (e.g. the bucket pol­icy, the IAM pol­icy of the prin­ci­pal mak­ing the re­quest etc) when the re­quest is made through the VPC Endpoint.The abil­ity to in­fer whether this IAM pol­icy per­mit­ted the re­quest or no­tAs the tar­get bucket is owned by a third party and is a pri­vate bucket, we’re (thankfully) go­ing to re­ceive an AccessDenied re­sponse, re­gard­less of whichever poli­cies we ap­ply to the re­quest. However, we can in­fer whether the VPC Endpoint pol­icy blocked or per­mit­ted the re­quest by whether it ap­pears in our own CloudTrail logs.If the re­quest does ap­pear in our CloudTrail logs, it was per­mit­ted by our VPC Endpoint pol­icy but blocked as ex­pected by the bucket pol­icy.If the re­quest does not ap­pear in our CloudTrail logs, it was blocked by our VPC Endpoint pol­icy.The abil­ity to ap­ply a wild­card match on the s3:Re­sourceAc­count con­di­tion keyWe can use the full power of IAM pol­icy con­di­tions, in­clud­ing StringLike wild­cards and re­source con­di­tion keys in a VPC Endpoint pol­icy, so the same ba­sic tech­nique will work here.Let’s say that we want to find the Account ID of the bucket bucket-al­pha.Note that some of our ac­tiv­i­ties here will be vis­i­ble to the owner of the bucket in their own CloudTrail logs.We need to find the re­gion in which the bucket lives so that we can cre­ate a VPC in the same re­gion. This can be done by curl­ing the buck­et’s HTTP end­point and ex­am­in­ing the x-amz-bucket-re­gion header (which is re­turned de­spite the re­quest be­ing for­bid­den).curl -v bucket-al­pha.s3.ama­zon­aws.com

x-amz-bucket-re­gion: us-east-1De­ploy a VPC and VPC Endpoint in the same re­gionWe need to de­ploy a VPC and a VPC Endpoint for S3 in the same re­gion as the tar­get bucket. It’s best to cre­ate a VPC specif­i­cally for this pur­pose as our VPC Endpoint will in­ter­fere with re­quests to S3 from the VPC. The VPC Endpoint should be of type Interface” so we can ap­ply a pol­icy to the re­quest.Launch an EC2 in­stance within the VPC and con­firm that it’s us­ing the VPC Endpoint for S3We’ll need to send re­quests to S3 from within the VPC so that the VPC Endpoint is used. An EC2 in­stance is a con­ve­nient way of do­ing so.Mod­ify the VPC Endpoint pol­icy to de­ter­mine whether the ac­count ID of the tar­get bucket starts with 0″Apply a pol­icy to the VPC Endpoint which per­forms a wild­card match on the s3:Re­sourceAc­count con­di­tion key. This will only per­mit re­quests through the end­point if the buck­et’s Account ID starts with 0”.{

Version”: 2012-10-17″,

Statement”: [

Action”: s3:*”,

Effect”: Allow”,

Resource”: *”,

Principal”: *”,

Condition”: {

StringLike”: {

s3:ResourceAccount”: 0*”

}Via the EC2 in­stance, make a re­quest to the tar­get bucket. This re­quest will be de­nied as ex­pected. It’s best to use a Management” re­quest rather than a Data” re­quest so we don’t need to do any­thing spe­cial with our CloudTrail setup. In this case I used GetBucketAcl.aws s3api get-bucket-acl –bucket bucket-al­pha

An er­ror oc­curred (AccessDenied) when call­ing the GetBucketAcl op­er­a­tion: Access DeniedCheck whether the re­quest ap­pears in CloudTrailNow we want to check whether our re­quest ap­pears in CloudTrail.aws cloud­trail lookup-events –lookup-attributes AttributeKey=EventName,AttributeValue=GetBucketAcl –start-time $(date -d -10 min­utes” +%s)If we find our re­quest in CloudTrail, it means that the VPC Endpoint pol­icy per­mit­ted the re­quest - i.e. the Account ID of the bucket starts with 0. If we don’t find the re­quest, then the VPC Endpoint pol­icy blocked the re­quest - i.e. the Account ID of the bucket does not start with 0.{

Bear in mind that it will take a few min­utes for the re­quest to ap­pear in CloudTrail. To be safe, I’d rec­om­mend wait­ing a 10 min­utes be­fore de­cid­ing the event won’t ap­pear in CloudTrail.Depending on the re­sult of the pre­vi­ous step, mod­ify the VPC Endpoint pol­icy to dis­cover more in­for­ma­tion about the ac­count ID. For in­stance, if the event did­n’t ap­pear in CloudTrail, mod­ify the con­di­tion to test whether the first digit is 1:“Condition”: {

StringLike”: {

s3:ResourceAccount”: 1*”

}If it did ap­pear in CloudTrail (so the first digit of the ac­count ID is 0), we can start work on the sec­ond digit:“Con­di­tion”: {

StringLike”: {

s3:ResourceAccount”: 00*”

}Bear it mind, it takes a few min­utes for pol­icy changes to fully prop­a­gate and take ef­fect. I’ve found wait­ing 5 min­utes af­ter mod­i­fy­ing the pol­icy to work well.I wrote a script to au­to­mate this process and it could re­li­ably find the Account ID of a bucket. As it’s quite a slow process, I used a slightly mod­i­fied tech­nique of per­form­ing a bi­nary search on each digit so fewer tests were needed, e.g:“Con­di­tion”: {

StringLike”: {

s3:ResourceAccount”: [“0*”, 1*”, 2*”, 3*”, 4*“]

}Leaving it for a few hours re­turned the ac­count ID suc­cess­fully:[ssm-user@ip-172-31-8-184 ~]$ python3 find-s3-ac­count.py bucket-al­pha

Searching for bucket bucket-al­pha

Modifying VPC end­point pol­icy…

Modified VPC end­point pol­icy

Made S3 re­quest to bucket: GPSWS2M4TH9ABX3C

Looking for event in CloudTrail…

Did not find event in CloudTrail (not per­mit­ted through VPC end­point)

State: {‘found’: ’, next_digits’: [0, 1, 2, 3, 4]}

Modifying VPC end­point pol­icy…

Modified VPC end­point pol­icy

Made S3 re­quest to bucket: 8T809NPVDGQSGB1N

Looking for event in CloudTrail…

Did not find event in CloudTrail (not per­mit­ted through VPC end­point)

State: {‘found’: ’, next_digits’: [0, 1]}

Modifying VPC end­point pol­icy…

Modified VPC end­point pol­icy

Made S3 re­quest to bucket: C9F0RTC7QK0G70TB

Looking for event in CloudTrail…

Found event in CloudTrail (permitted through VPC end­point)

State: {‘found’: 1’, next_digits’: [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]}

State: {‘found’: 123456789101’, next_digits’: [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]}

Found ac­count: 123456789101Waiting for the VPC Endpoint pol­icy to take ef­fect, and wait­ing for long enough to de­ter­mine whether the re­quest ap­pears in CloudTrail is quite a slow process. Even us­ing a bi­nary search, it will take ap­prox­i­mately (40 * 12 min­utes = 8 hours) to find the Account ID.To make this process faster, and elim­i­nate the need to wait be­tween each step, I mod­i­fied the VPC end­point pol­icy like so:{

Version”: 2012-10-17″,

Statement”: [

Effect”: Allow”,

Action”: [


Resource”: *”,

Principal”: *”,

Condition”: {

StringLike”: {

aws:userid”: *:0–––––-”,

s3:ResourceAccount”: 0???????????”

Effect”: Allow”,

Action”: [


Resource”: *”,

Principal”: *”,

Condition”: {

StringLike”: {

aws:userid”: *:1–––––-”,

s3:ResourceAccount”: 1???????????”


Effect”: Allow”,

Action”: [


Resource”: *”,

Principal”: *”,

Condition”: {

StringLike”: {

aws:userid”: *:–––––-9″,

s3:ResourceAccount”: ???????????9″

}There are 120 state­ments in the pol­icy - one for each pos­si­ble digit in each pos­si­ble po­si­tion. The con­di­tion on aws:userid is used to match par­tic­u­lar val­ues of the RoleSessionName pa­ra­me­ter (which we can freely spec­ify) used in an STS AssumeRole call. In ef­fect this means we can se­lec­tively choose which pol­icy state­ment (i.e. a par­tic­u­lar digit in a par­tic­u­lar po­si­tion) we want to test for each re­quest, by as­sum­ing a role with a par­tic­u­lar RoleSessionName be­fore do­ing so.As this pol­icy (only just!) fits within the max­i­mum char­ac­ter length of a VPC Endpoint pol­icy, we can test all 120 pos­si­bil­i­ties in par­al­lel, with­out mod­i­fy­ing the pol­icy or wait­ing for the re­sults in­di­vid­u­ally in CloudTrail.This re­duced the time taken to find the Account ID to less than 10 min­utes:sh-5.2$ python3 find-s3-ac­count.py bucket-al­pha

VPC end­point vpce-0e76855aad­b0dafb5 pol­icy al­ready con­fig­ured

Requesting bucket-al­pha us­ing ses­sion name 0–––––-


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4 501 shares, 20 trendiness

Search 1000s of personal sites

Find peo­ple to talk to or col­lab­o­rate with by search­ing across the /about, /ideas and /now pages of 7552 per­sonal web­sites.

Read the man­i­festo

Updated February 27, 2024

I live in Bangalore, India. I spend my time on

* CTO at Peppo

* Data Archivist at DataMeet

* Teaching Modern Application Development I (BSCCS2003) and II (BSCCS2006) at IITM Online Degree

* Contributing data us­ing var­i­ous plat­forms like DataCommons, OSM, WikiData etc

* Coding and Blogging. If you are in­ter­ested I pub­lish weekly notes, which cov­ers things as I do on weekly ba­sis

* Spending lots of time with Anju, Uma, Echo and Pathu

* Other de­tailed as­so­ci­a­tions are here.

If my pri­or­i­ties change, I’ll up­date this page. Last up­dated on Feb 27, 2024 @ 1:46 PM.

Inspiration: nownownow.com

Loading… Updated February 27, 2024

Thejesh GN (ತೇಜೇಶ್ ಜಿ.ಎನ್) Thej” is an in­de­pen­dent tech­nol­o­gist, de­vel­oper, hacker, maker, trav­eler, blog­ger and an open data/​in­ter­net en­thu­si­ast from Bangalore, India. He is the co-founder and chair­man of DataMeet trust. DataMeet is the biggest com­mu­nity of data sci­ence and open data en­thu­si­asts in India. They or­gan­ise com­mu­nity mee­tups around the coun­try and runs un­con­fer­ences called Open Data Camps (ODC). His be­lief in open data and open re­search lead him to open up his genome data(DNA) in 2013.

He loves hack­ing open source soft­ware, re­search­ing and de­vel­op­ing prod­ucts, speak­ing at events and host­ing work­shops. His pas­sion for us­ing tech­nol­ogy for so­cial change won him the Infosys Community Empathy Fellowship in 2010. In 2018, he was awarded the IBM Champion ti­tle.

His core skills are re­search and de­vel­op­ment of new ideas, build­ing proof of con­cepts, tech­ni­cal ar­chi­tec­ture, de­sign and de­vel­op­ment.

Easiest way to reach him is by email­ing **\[ i @ the­jeshgn dot com\]** or use this form.

You can sub­scribe to his per­sonal blog by RSS: All posts or just the tech­nol­ogy posts.

He lives with Anju (fictionhead), Uma, Echo and Pathu.

### **Associations**

He grad­u­ated as an Electronics and Communication en­gi­neer from VTU in 2002. His ca­reer started with Siemens Information Systems Ltd as an in­tern. In 2003 he joined Infosys Technologies Ltd as a Software Engineer. Since then, he has taken many roles such as Developer, Programmer Analyst, Technical Specialist and Technical Architect. Below is the list of his as­so­ci­a­tions with var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions.

* Siemens Ltd - Internship Jun 2002 — Dec 2002

* Infosys Tech Ltd - Tech Specialist - Jan. 2003 — Feb. 2011

* UbuntuAtWork - Technologist - Volunteer and then Tech. Consultant - 2009,2010

* Janaagraha - Tech Manager (Infosys Fellowship) - Jan. 2010 - Dec. 2010

* Janaagraha - Technologist - Mar. 2011 - Feb. 2012

* IWP - Data Consultant - Jul.2012 - Mar.2014

* NextDrop Org - Tech Architect - Jul.2012 - Dec.2013

* Mavrix Ltd - Tech Architect - Mar.2011 - Mar.2019

* DataMeet - Co-founder/Organizer - 2012 - Current

* ODCBLR - Open DataCamp - Organizer - 2012 - Current

* Buzz India - Advisor - 2012 - Current

* Fourthlion - Technologist - Project based con­sult­ing - InstaVaani

* First WalkIn Technologies - R&D - Project based con­sult­ing

* OptimumInfoSystem/Client: Google India - Course Builder Engineer - Jan.2015 - Dec.2016

* Executive Board of Oorvani Foundation - Tech - Nov.2015 - cur­rent

* Occasionally write for FactorDaily

* FSF Associate Member, Since 2016

* OptimumInfoSystem/Client: Google India - Course Builder Engineer - Jul.2017 - Mar.2019

* IBM Champion - Cloud - 2018

* OpenStreetMap Foundation - Member

* IBM Champion - Cloud - 2019

* Mavrix Ltd - Tech Architect - Project based

* First WalkIn Technologies - Tech Architect - Apr.2019 - Apr.2020

* Quicksand Design Studio - Tech Architect - Project based

* IITM/Online/Study - Tech Architect - Project based

* IITM/BS in Data Science and Applications - Course Instructor - Modern Application Development 1 and 2.

* Data Commons - FOSS Data Contributor

* Peppo - CTO - May.2020 - Current

His ar­eas of in­ter­est in­clude FLOSS, Linux, Open Web, Open Data, Open Formats, Data Visualization, Security, WoT, Cryptography, Online Privacy, IT Laws, Politics, Blogging, Podcasting, P2P net­works, Motor Cycling, Open Hadware, Programming (Python, JavaScript, Lua).

### Pronunciation Guide

Official Name : ತೇಜೇಶ್ ಜಿ ಎನ್ - Thejesh G N - Tējēʃ ji En - t̪e:dʒe:ʃ dʒi en

Short Name: ತೇಜ್ - Thej - Tēj - t̪e:dʒ

### On in­ter­net

Twitter |  GitHub|  BitBucket |  Stack OverFlow |   Pinboard |  LinkedIn |  Flickr |  Wikipedia |  FaceBook |  Instagram | Transifex | Fediverse

You may want to read terms and con­di­tions, dis­clo­sures, re­la­tion­ships, com­ment pol­icy and copy­right re­lated in­for­ma­tion. Last up­dated on Feb 27, 2024 @ 1:46 PM.

Loading… Updated February 27, 2024

Some of the ideas I’d like to work on, in no par­tic­u­lar or­der. Hit me up if you are in­ter­ested in co-op­er­a­tion!

**Updated on 27th of February 2024.**

* Patreon-style plat­form with bet­ter VOD sup­port

* Secondhand mar­ket­place with fixed pric­ing and easy ship­ping (ala Mercari)

* Startup that reuses old cof­fee grounds from of­fice spaces Updated February 26, 2024

> Last up­dated on February 26, 20241

The fol­low­ing are var­i­ous ideas I’ve had in no par­tic­u­lar or­der:

### Blog posts

* Add an ideas page to web­site

* Favorite cof­fee shops

* Transcribe lessons learned car pre­sen­ta­tion

### Code pro­jects

* Obsidian plu­gin for Hugo

1. The last up­dated date needs to be in the con­tent for aboutideas­now.com to be able to find it. See this com­ment thread. ↩︎ Updated February 26, 2024

I al­ways have about a mil­lion ideas and a firm re­al­iza­tion that most will not come to fruition — but you never know… with the right col­lab­o­ra­tors and the right tim­ing.

Things I would like to work on:

* **A com­mu­nity wifi net­work** for my neigh­bour­hood to pro­vide cheap re­li­able in­ter­net (think NYCMesh or Freifunk but small). #CommunityNetworks #Wifi #CommunityWifi

* **A pro­gres­sive pol­i­tics talk­ing shop/​think tank** to talk about ideas of a pro­gres­sive na­ture and en­thuse peo­ple to be in­volved in things when elec­tions or other cam­paigns and is­sues come around. This could be hy­per lo­cal or more re­gional. It would be nice to have an en­gaged and well trained ac­tivist base who could use their ef­forts. Perhaps more on­line than in per­son or mix of the two to make it easy to par­tic­i­pate ca­su­ally. #Progressive #ProgressivePolitics #Activism #CommunityOrganizing #CapacityBuilding

* **Helping set up a com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tion** (like these) for the neigh­bour­hood to help im­prove where I live (I do not want to start and run some­thing but happy to help some­one else). #Neighbourhood #NeighbourhoodAssociation #Community #CommunityAssosociation

* And one mil­lion more around pol­i­tics, tech­nol­ogy and of­ten their in­ter­sec­tion Updated February 26, 2024

_If you find this piece worth­while,_ _consider the Go Fund Me_ _that’s fund­ing on­go­ing care._

I was read­ing Tyler Cowen and Daniel Gross’s book _Talent: How to Identify Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Around the World_, and in it they write: You can open doors for other peo­ple at rel­a­tively low cost (perhaps zero cost) to your­self just by mak­ing some op­tions more vivid to them.… You em­body _something_, and that some­thing will stir some oth­ers into ac­tion” (237). That’s a lot of what Bess and I are do­ing when we write about clin­i­cal tri­als, where get­ting the wrong an­swer means death: thus, our ex­ten­sive fo­cus on it, and the health­care sys­tem more broadly. We’re try­ing to open doors, es­pe­cially for peo­ple who are sick or who don’t re­al­ize what their op­tions are.

Right now, ac­cord­ing to The pharma in­dus­try from Paul Janssen to to­day: why drugs got harder to de­velop and what we can do about it,” ap­par­ently Only 6% of can­cer pa­tients take part in clin­i­cal tri­als na­tion­ally in the US, for in­stance, and the num­ber is gen­er­ally lower in other coun­tries and for other con­di­tions.” A lot of can­cer pa­tients don’t need clin­i­cal tri­als and are healed by ex­ist­ing treat­ments, but, even grant­ing that stan­dard-of-care of­ten works, 6% seems low—it may be low be­cause of poor guid­ance com­bined with fa­tal­ism. If my ex­pe­ri­ence is rep­re­sen­ta­tive,\[1\] a lot of can­cer pa­tients aren’t get­ting ad­e­quate help un­der­stand­ing the sys­tem and find­ing a trial. Bess and I only suc­ceeded in find­ing a clin­i­cal trial to keep me alive be­cause of our own per­se­ver­ance and ob­ses­sive­ness; we were ex­plic­itly en­cour­aged by mul­ti­ple on­col­o­gists not to bother and to let me die. My pri­mary on­col­o­gist at the Mayo Clinic Phoenix of­fered zero guid­ance, aid, or ad­vice. I can’t tell how com­mon this is, though feed­back so far seems to in­di­cate the an­swer might be pretty com­mon.” For a nor­mal per­son with­out some of our traits, back­ground, and re­sources, get­ting an op­ti­mal clin­i­cal trial would be far harder, if not im­pos­si­ble—and it was al­ready hard for us. I’m still puz­zled that more peo­ple with poor prog­noses on stan­dard-of-care treat­ments aren’t work­ing to get the best clin­i­cal tri­als they can.

What’s the bar­rier? Mindset, and dis­cour­age­ment from on­col­o­gists, is prob­a­bly one prob­lem. A guy named Richard Chen, whose pro­file says he wrote two books on clin­i­cal trial re­cruit­ment, said: First, FDAs re­mit is not, and has never been, to get ther­a­pies to pa­tients.” He also said: Its pri­mary mis­sion first and fore­most, is to pre­vent un­safe drugs from in­jur­ing pa­tients.” If the FDAs re­mit is­n’t to get ther­a­pies to pa­tients, that’s bad, and its re­mit should change. The sec­ond com­ment is pure, un­in­ten­tional com­edy. Right now, I’m a dead man walk­ing. The FDA is pre­vent­ing unsafe” drugs from in­jur­ing me, so that I can be injured”—which is to say, killed—by a re­cur­rent/​metasta­tic squa­mous cell car­ci­noma in­fes­ta­tion. If I’m in­jured or killed by a drug, that’s not so dif­fer­ent from my ul­ti­mate tra­jec­tory any­way, and the knowl­edge that can be cre­ated from my sit­u­a­tion might ac­cel­er­ate treat­ments and save the next guy’s life.

Moreover, we al­ready have an ex­am­ple of a med­ical area that works well with min­i­mal FDA in­ter­fer­ence: surgery. Maxwell Tabarrok de­scribes the sit­u­a­tion in Surgery Works Well Without The FDA: The best ev­i­dence against the FDA:”

> Despite ex­treme in­for­ma­tion prob­lems and a com­plete ab­sence of fed­eral over­sight, surgery seems to work well. Compared to sim­i­lar pa­tients on the wait­ing list, 2.3 mil­lion life years were saved by or­gan trans­plants over 25 years. The WHO claims that surgical in­ter­ven­tions ac­count for 13% of the world’s to­tal dis­abil­ity-ad­justed life years.” Coronary artery surgery ex­tends lifes­pan by sev­eral years for $2300 a year. Cataract surgery and LASIK can mas­sively im­prove qual­ity of life for a few thou­sand dol­lars.

Regarding drugs, par­tic­u­larly drugs for peo­ple who are al­ready ef­fec­tively dead, like me, we should be mov­ing closer to a sur­gi­cal model.

I think Chen is a smart and well-mean­ing per­son. But he’s so bu­reau­cra­tized, and he’s so im­bibed the FDAs line, that he does­n’t re­al­ize the Kafkaesque ab­sur­dity of telling me, a dy­ing man who’s failed all stan­dard ther­a­pies, that the FDA is pro­tect­ing me from po­ten­tially un­safe drugs, so that I can safely die of can­cer. If the FDA did­n’t flex their pa­ter­nal­ism quite so ag­gres­sively, ter­mi­nal pa­tients could at least con­sent to try some­thing that _might_ help them, which is bet­ter odds than try­ing noth­ing and wait­ing for a cer­tain end. Look, if the FDA wants to have long trial pe­ri­ods for du­bi­ous drugs like those meant to lower cho­les­terol or what­ever, fine. Once a per­son has a fa­tal di­ag­no­sis, how­ever, that per­son is prob­a­bly, like me, a lot more in­clined to take a flyer on what’s avail­able and see what hap­pens. And we should be al­lowed to do that. We’re ter­mi­nal, not with­out ca­pac­ity. If the FDAs re­mit is, ul­ti­mately, pre­vent­ing pa­tient in­jury, maybe they should ask them­selves if they’re caus­ing in­jury with their cur­rent ap­proach?

Knowledge among pa­tients and on­col­o­gists seems to be an­other bar­rier, ac­cord­ing to Why drugs got harder to de­velop:”

> _Many pa­tients are will­ing to take part in clin­i­cal tri­als in prin­ci­ple, but aware­ness is poor. About 50% of the time when pa­tients are in­vited to clin­i­cal tri­als they ac­cept, but_ _90% are never in­vited to par­tic­i­pate__, mainly be­cause most pa­tients are not treated in set­tings that con­duct tri­als. Patients are also not nec­es­sar­ily aware of or ed­u­cated about the ben­e­fits of tri­als, and how they may en­able them to ac­cess a high stan­dard of care. Leading clin­i­cal re­search cen­tres of­ten have too many stud­ies and not enough pa­tients. When it comes to the trial it­self, the site may be far from where the pa­tient lives, re­quir­ing them to travel or even re­lo­cate for the du­ra­tion of the trial — with­out ad­e­quate sup­port for do­ing so._

Poor aware­ness is con­sis­tent with my ex­pe­ri­ence—no one ex­plic­itly told me to seek clin­i­cal tri­als. Bess writes about the dearth of on­col­o­gists re­fer­ring their pa­tients to clin­i­cal tri­als in Please be dy­ing but not too quickly: part three” and I’ve writ­ten about this is­sue as well, but, as I men­tioned above, if I’d fol­lowed my then-on­col­o­gist’s guid­ance, I’d have done some pal­lia­tive chemo and then died. That does­n’t seem like an op­ti­mal out­come. If I die, Bess will be lonely. In spaces like on­col­ogy, I’d ex­pect pa­tients to be more like me—that is, highly mo­ti­vated to at­tempt to not die. I don’t wholly un­der­stand what’s go­ing on, which is why I ti­tled my last es­say on the sub­ject Puzzles about on­col­ogy and clin­i­cal tri­als.”

I guess (or in­fer from be­hav­ior) that most on­col­o­gists aren’t pe­nal­ized or re­warded for help­ing their pa­tients find and en­ter clin­i­cal tri­als. In the emer­gency room, a doc­tor who rou­tinely misses heart at­tacks or strokes will find his or her li­cense at­tacked and him or her­self in a court room. In on­col­ogy, there’s ap­par­ently no real ef­fort to con­sis­tently help pa­tients who’ve ex­hausted stan­dard treat­ments. It’s not, I guess, part of the pro­fes­sional el­e­ments of the pro­fes­sion, which I find sur­pris­ing. Sure, many pa­tients are likely el­derly and too sick to pur­sue clin­i­cal tri­als, but a fair num­ber must be like me: mo­ti­vated and able to un­der­take some­what ar­du­ous ef­forts to pre­vent or de­lay death.

One rea­son too few peo­ple par­tic­i­pate may be lo­gis­ti­cal:

> _To get enough pa­tients to fill up large tri­als com­pa­nies need to con­duct tri­als at mul­ti­ple sites. The more sites in­volved in a trial, the greater the lo­gis­ti­cal com­plex­i­ties in­volved in co­or­di­nat­ing that the pro­to­col is ex­e­cuted ap­pro­pri­ately across sites, the data is col­lected to a good stan­dard, and the drug is dis­trib­uted to all sites as needed. This all in­creases costs. More sites also in­creases vari­ance in ex­e­cu­tion, and im­proper trial con­duct can de­lay or even sink a de­vel­op­ment pro­gram. According to_ _data from Tufts uni­ver­si­ty__, >80% of tri­als fail to re­cruit on time, ac­tual en­rol­ment times are typ­i­cally around dou­ble the planned time­lines, and ~50% of ter­mi­nated tri­als re­sult from re­cruit­ment fail­ures. An es­ti­mated 11% of trial sites fail to re­cruit a sin­gle pa­tient, and an­other 37% don’t reach their tar­get en­roll­ment cri­te­ria._

There are ef­forts to cre­ate virtual” trial sites—in other words, to al­low clin­i­cal tri­als to pro­ceed at lo­cal sites that reach some min­i­mum thresh­old of com­pe­tence. To use my­self as an ex­am­ple, if the petosem­tamab trial I’m do­ing at UCSD in­cluded a real vir­tual site com­po­nent, petosem­tamab could be shipped to HonorHealth in Scottsdale or one of the Ironwood Cancer Centers in Chandler, and I could re­ceive my in­fu­sions and mon­i­tor­ing lo­cally, with the data re­ported to UCSD and/​or Merus (the drug com­pany). Although that would mean more sites in­volved in a trial,” it also means less re­spon­si­bil­ity at each site. The recruitment fail­ures” is­sue is in­ter­est­ing in light of the fact that al­most no trial sites seem to do ba­sic, mod­ern mar­ket­ing.

**I’m not hugely op­ti­mistic** about fo­ment­ing real change. Real change is slow in a so­ci­ety like the United States, which has been char­ac­ter­ized since the 1970s over­whelm­ingly by com­pla­cency, sta­sis, and sta­tus-quo bias. One sees that in our in­abil­ity to build new hous­ing, our in­abil­ity to build new ships for the Navy, our re­fusal to ac­cel­er­ate sub­way de­vel­op­ment, our pref­er­ence for in­ter­minable lit­i­ga­tion over in­fra­struc­ture, the Jones Act, the FDA, dis­hon­est and tu­ition-seek­ing uni­ver­si­ties, and the in­nu­mer­able other veto play­ers who, like Richard Chen, are great at say­ing no” and un­able to say yes.” I hope we can build O’Neill Habitats that will al­low a re-open­ing of the fron­tier and a new space where the dream­ers who are tired of hear­ing no” can in­stead cre­ate a new polity where it’s pos­si­ble to say yes.” The United States is huge on safe­ty­ism in­stead of true safety—and hu­man flour­ish­ing.\[2\] We can and should do bet­ter. I doubt we will, how­ever, be­cause the peo­ple who most need FDA re­form are dead. They’re not writ­ing. They’re not do­ing pod­casts. They’re not ag­i­tat­ing Congress.

Still, some­times change hap­pens, and the bu­reau­cratic in­er­tia is some­how over­come. For ex­am­ple, voucher and char­ter schools seem to con­tinue to as­cend, de­spite en­trenched and in­tense monied union in­ter­ests op­pos­ing them, and decades af­ter their in­tel­lec­tual foun­da­tions were laid. Marijuana le­gal­iza­tion seemed un­likely un­til it hap­pened. Psychedelics look like they’re on the path to med­ical le­gal­iza­tion, at the very least, and pos­si­ble gen­eral le­gal­iza­tion; based on my ex­pe­ri­ences, psy­che­delics are both safer and far more in­ter­est­ing than al­co­hol. SpaceX has rev­o­lu­tion­ized the space game, and I’d have in­cor­rectly pre­dicted fail­ure. Tesla is the sole bul­wark against state-af­fil­i­ated and sub­si­dized Chinese com­pa­nies own­ing the en­tire elec­tric car mar­ket. Who knows what’s pos­si­ble? I don’t hope for this, but if some­one in some sen­a­tor or se­nior house mem­ber’s fam­ily gets can­cer, and that sen­a­tor or house mem­ber learns what I’ve learned, FDA re­form might be­come a vi­tal is­sue for that per­son. Few peo­ple I’ve seen on­line have de­fended the cur­rent sys­tem (there are some—just not a lot).

The fact that the cur­rent os­si­fied, slow sys­tem has per­sisted as long as it has is an ar­gu­ment for it con­tin­u­ing. Good enough is good enough, right? Moreover, the way the press re­sponds to events helps per­pet­u­ate sta­sis: if a drug has neg­a­tive side ef­fects, in­clud­ing po­ten­tially death, that gets plas­tered all over the news. Investigations are launched. Scapegoats are sought. If a drug works, and saves lives, the re­sponse is muted. The ar­ti­cles go un­read. The ben­e­fi­cia­ries are happy but don’t start cam­paign­ing for more and bet­ter med­ical treat­ment, faster. One per­son who dies from a drug out­weighs one hun­dred who might be saved by an­other. It re­minds me of all the press given to any kind of air­line ac­ci­dent, even one with­out ca­su­al­ties, while 40,000 peo­ple a year die in car crashes, with­out most of them mak­ing head­lines.

One per­son on LinkedIn said this about Bess’s clin­i­cal trial es­say-guide:

> _An ex­tra­or­di­nar­ily damn­ing overview of the way things op­er­ate cur­rently, that puts every­thing we com­plain about from within the in­dus­try into per­spec­tive. Thanks for shar­ing this Brad \[Hightower—mentioned above\] — as you say, a must read that un­der­lines how we must all work to­gether to im­prove things._

It might be a damn­ing overview, but it also turns out that seem­ingly every­one work­ing in or ad­ja­cent to clin­i­cal tri­als knows about the prob­lems al­ready. That in­cludes every­one from the re­searchers them­selves to the drug com­pa­nies to the hos­pi­tals to the on­col­o­gists to the sup­port staff. If a lot of peo­ple have known for a long time how bad the sys­tem is, and no one has man­aged to co­or­di­nate suf­fi­ciently to make sub­stan­tial im­prove­ments, that im­plies that the prob­lems will per­sist. Can Bess and I be the cat­a­lysts that fi­nally gal­va­nize some change? That’d be great, and yet I’m pes­simistic. There’s a say­ing in in­vest­ing: The mar­ket can stay ir­ra­tional longer than you can stay sol­vent.” Call this Seliger’s Law: A bro­ken sys­tem can stay bro­ken for longer than peo­ple have the time, en­ergy, and abil­ity to try fix­ing it.”

Still, Bess and I would like to try to make the world a bet­ter place, to the ex­tent we can, and within what­ever lim­its our abil­i­ties and skills may im­pose, and try­ing to nudge the clin­i­cal trial sys­tem into a bet­ter equi­lib­rium is part of our ef­fort. It’s too late to save my tongue, but it may not be too late to save the tongues and lives of oth­ers. In an al­ter­nate world, petosem­tamab, or a can­cer vac­cine, would’ve been ap­proved and avail­able in Oct. 2022. I’d have got­ten surgery, and then petosem­tamab, which is way less toxic than chemother­apy. Maybe that would­n’t’ve saved my tongue—but maybe it would’ve. Oncologists are re­luc­tant to use chemother­apy, but mod­ern al­ter­na­tives like petosem­tamab should help peo­ple like me in the fu­ture.


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5 445 shares, 24 trendiness

New York medical school eliminates tuition after $1bn gift

It is one of the largest ever do­na­tions made to a US school and is the largest ever made to a med­ical school.

In a state­ment, uni­ver­sity dean Dr Yaron Yomer said that the transformational” gift radically rev­o­lu­tionises our abil­ity to con­tinue at­tract­ing stu­dents who are com­mit­ted to our mis­sion, not just those who can af­ford it”.

The state­ment from Einstein noted stu­dents in their fi­nal year will be re­im­bursed for their spring 2024 tu­ition, and from August, all stu­dents, in­clud­ing those who are cur­rently en­rolled, will re­ceive free tu­ition.

The do­na­tion will free up and lift our stu­dents, en­abling them to pur­sue pro­jects and ideas that might oth­er­wise be pro­hib­i­tive”, Dr Yomer added.

Her late hus­band, David Sandy” Gottesman, founded a promi­nent in­vest­ment house and was an early in­vestor in Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet’s multi­na­tional con­glom­er­ate. He died in September 2022 at the age of 96.

Dr Gottesman said in a state­ment that the doc­tors who train at Einstein go on to provide the finest health­care to com­mu­ni­ties here in the Bronx and all over the world”.

I am very thank­ful to my late hus­band, Sandy, for leav­ing these funds in my care, and l feel blessed to be given the great priv­i­lege of mak­ing this gift to such a wor­thy cause,” she added.

About 50% of Einstein’s first-year stu­dents are from New York, and ap­prox­i­mately 60% are women. Statistics pub­lished by the school show that about 48% of its med­ical stu­dents are white, while 29% are Asian, 11% are Hispanic and 5% are black.

In an in­ter­view with the New York Times, she re­called that her late hus­band had left her a whole port­fo­lio of Berkshire Hathaway stock” when he died with the in­struc­tions to do what­ever you think is right with it”.

I wanted to fund stu­dents at Einstein so that they would re­ceive free tu­ition,” Dr Gottesman said she im­me­di­ately re­alised. There was enough money to do that in per­pe­tu­ity.”

She added that she oc­ca­sion­ally won­ders what her hus­band would have thought of the do­na­tion.

I hope he’s smil­ing and not frown­ing,” she said. He gave me the op­por­tu­nity to do this, and I think he would be happy - I hope so.”


Read the original on www.bbc.com »

6 342 shares, 15 trendiness

A bad day at the office

While look­ing for some­thing else, I came across this rather in­cred­i­ble photo in the Imperial War Museum col­lec­tion. That’s a sea­plane stuck 300 feet up a 350ft tall ra­dio mast! If that’s not amaz­ing enough, the pi­lot was res­cued by three men who climbed up to re­trieve him. And he sur­vived.

A British sea­plane, whilst car­ry­ing out ex­er­cises, emerged from a cloud at high speed and struck one of the masts of a shore wire­less sta­tion. The mast, which was about 350 feet high, was com­posed of lat­ticed steel gird­ers and the sea­plane’s en­gines be­came wedged in the in­ter­stices of the gird­ers, in such a way, that the body of the ma­chine stuck out at right an­gles to the mast. The pi­lot, who was stunned, was un­con­scious, three hun­dred feet above the ground. A small party of blue­jack­ets were at work paint­ing the mast, and one of these, a sea­man of the Naval Reserve named Rath climbed up the in­side of the mast un­til he reached the ma­chine, and then crawled out to the plane to hold the pi­lot un­til help came. Two more men, Ordinary Seaman Knoulton and dock­hand Abbott, passed a rope out to him, which Rath se­cured to the body of the un­con­scious pi­lot, and low­ered him down to safety. The gal­len­try of these men is ac­cen­tu­ated by the fact that the mast was very badly dam­aged, and might at any mo­ment have col­lapsed. The dam­aged fuse­lage was only held in a hor­i­zon­tal po­si­tion by the en­gine be­ing jammed be­tween the gird­ers, and at the height of 300 feet the wind caused the mast and the ma­chine to sway as if threat­en­ing to crash to earth. The pi­lot owes his preser­va­tion to the in­tre­pid gal­len­try of these three men, who, while aline to the risks they ran, per­formed the res­cue with­out hes­i­ta­tion for per­sonal safety.

Some more in­for­ma­tion: the crash took place on 14 September 1917 at Horsea Island in Portsmouth Island. The pi­lot was Acting Flight Commander E. A. de Ville, fly­ing a Sopwith Baby, which you can see a bit bet­ter here:

Rath was awarded the Albert Medal in Gold, Knoulton and Abbott the Albert Medal. Hopefully they also got the rest of the day off!

This work is li­censed un­der a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Permissions be­yond the scope of this li­cense may be avail­able at http://​airminded.org/​copy­right/.


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7 245 shares, 10 trendiness

Here’s Why Jalapeño Peppers Are Less Spicy Than Ever

It’s not just you: jalapeño pep­pers are less spicy and less pre­dictable than ever be­fore. As heat-seek­ers chase ever-fiercer va­ri­eties of pep­per—Car­olina reapers, scor­pi­ons, ghosts—the clas­sic jalapeño is go­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion. And the long-term de-spicification” of the jalapeño is a de­lib­er­ate choice, not the prod­uct of a bad sea­son of weather.

This in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­gan in my own kitchen. After months of buy­ing heat-free jalapeños, I started tex­ting chefs around Dallas to see if they were hav­ing the same ex­pe­ri­ence. Many agreed. One promi­nent chef fa­vors ser­ra­nos in­stead. Regino Rojas of Revolver Taco Lounge sug­gested jalapeños are now more veg­gie-like than chile.” Luis Olvera, owner of Trompo, said that jalapeños now have so much less heat that I tell my staff, I think my hands are just too damn sweet,’ be­cause I can’t make salsa spicy enough any­more.”

To be fair, not every­one agreed with these views. One restau­ra­teur won­dered if jalapeños seem less hot be­cause din­ers have be­come in­fat­u­ated with ha­baneros and ser­ra­nos. Wayne White, gen­eral man­ager at Hutchins BBQ, of­fered a mid­dle ground. I no­ticed dur­ing covid, the qual­ity got re­ally bad, but now to me they’re beau­ti­ful,” he said. We did have a sea­son dur­ing covid, you could tell they were pulling them too soon, they weren’t that ripe. But I ate a whole jalapeño the other day, just to eat one, and it lit me up.”

I searched the in­ter­net to see whether jalapeños are re­ally get­ting milder, but only found shop­ping tips. Gardening web­sites of­fered savvier ad­vice: that pep­pers grow hot­ter un­der stress. If they’re well-wa­tered, they won’t pro­duce as much cap­saicin, the chem­i­cal that gen­er­ates the sen­sa­tion we know as spici­ness. But even this ex­pla­na­tion leaves unan­swered ques­tions. My sunny back­yard, which pro­duces fe­ro­cious pep­pers, is one thing. What about all the pep­pers in the gro­cery store?

Clearly, a real in­ves­ti­ga­tion was re­quired. So I called Stephanie Walker, ex­ten­sion veg­etable spe­cial­ist at New Mexico State University, ad­vi­sory board mem­ber of that uni­ver­si­ty’s Chile Pepper Institute, and chair of the 2023 New Mexico Chile Conference.

Other com­plaints have come my way,” Walker said at the start of our phone call. This turned out to be a comedic un­der­state­ment: she has a mas­sive, ex­is­ten­tial com­plaint about the state of the chile pep­per in­dus­try. I got on the phone ex­pect­ing to hear a pro­saic story of weather pat­terns shift­ing, un­usual rains in pep­per-grow­ing re­gions, or the spread of green­houses. I would not have been sur­prised if she val­i­dated Rojas’ the­ory: that jalapeños are now grown to look pretty, shiny, and big, re­gard­less of fla­vor. Pesticides and other en­hanc­ing farm­ing el­e­ments make them look beau­ti­ful but not re­ally spicy,” Rojas sug­gested to me.

People lost a lot of in­ter­est in toma­toes for a long time un­til heir­looms came back. Now we have the same thing with pep­pers.

There’s truth to all these the­o­ries, but Walker says they are only sec­ondary fac­tors.

As more grow­ers have adopted drip ir­ri­ga­tion, more high-tech farm­ing tools to grow the pep­pers, they’ll tend to be milder,” Walker told me first, as a sort of throat-clear­ing ex­er­cise be­fore the real ex­pla­na­tion. But there’s more to it than that.”

The truth is more like a vast in­dus­trial scheme to make the jalapeño more pre­dictable—and less hot.

Most jalapeños go straight to fac­to­ries, for canned pep­pers, pick­led pep­per rings, sal­sas, cream sauces, dress­ings, fla­vored chips and crack­ers, dips, sausages, and other pre­pared foods. For all those com­pa­nies, con­sis­tency is key. Think about the salsa world’s mild,” medium,” and hot” la­bels.

According to The Mexican Chile Pepper Cookbook by Dave DeWitt and José Marmolejo, 60 per­cent of jalapeños are sent to pro­cess­ing plants, 20 per­cent are smoke-dried into chipo­tles, and just 20 per­cent are sold fresh. Since big proces­sors are the pep­pers’ main con­sumers, big proces­sors get more sway over what the pep­pers taste like.

It was a re­ally big deal when breed­ers [told the in­dus­try], hey, look, I have a low-heat jalapeño,’ and then a low-heat but high-fla­vor jalapeño,” Walker ex­plained. That kind of be­came the big de­mand for jalapeños—low heat jalapeños—be­cause most of them are used for pro­cess­ing and cook­ing. [Producers] want to start with jalapeños and add ole­o­resin cap­sicum.”

Oleoresin cap­sicum is an ex­tract from pep­pers, con­tain­ing pure heat. It’s the ac­tive in­gre­di­ent in pep­per spray. It’s also the ac­tive in­gre­di­ent, in a man­ner of speak­ing, for processed jalapeños. The salsa in­dus­try, Walker said, starts with a mild crop of pep­pers, then sim­ply adds the heat ex­tract nec­es­sary to reach medium and hot lev­els. She would know; she started her ca­reer work­ing for a processed-food con­glom­er­ate.

I’ve worked in pep­pers in my en­tire life,” she told me. Jalapeños were orig­i­nally prized as be­ing a hot pep­per grown in the field. When we were mak­ing hot sauce in my pre­vi­ous job, we had the same prob­lem, that you could­n’t pre­dict the heat. When you’re do­ing a huge run of salsa for ship­ment, and you want a hot la­bel, medium la­bel, mild la­bel, it’s re­ally im­por­tant to pre­dict what kind of heat you’ll get. We tried a sta­tis­ti­cal de­sign from the fields, and it just did­n’t work, be­cause mother na­ture throws stress­ful events at you or, some­times, does not bring stress.”

The stan­dard­iza­tion of the jalapeño was rapidly ac­cel­er­ated by the de­but, about 20 years ago, of the TAM II jalapeño line, a re­li­ably big, shiny, fleshy pep­per that can grow up to six inches long—with lit­tle to no heat. TAM II pep­pers have be­come some of the most pop­u­lar in the pro­cess­ing busi­ness. The 2002 pa­per in HortScience trum­peted TAM IIs ben­e­fits: virus re­sis­tance, ab­sence of dark spots, longer fruit with thicker flesh, ear­lier mat­u­ra­tion, and, com­pared to a va­ri­ety of jalapeño called Grande, less than 10 per­cent of the spici­ness. TAMs grown in one lo­ca­tion mea­sured in at 1620 Scoville units, while those at an­other came in at just 1080, which is milder than a poblano.

In con­clu­sion, the pa­per’s au­thors wrote, The large, low-pun­gency fruit of TMJ II will make it equally suited for fresh-mar­ket and pro­cess­ing uses.”

DeWitt, writ­ing in his solo book Chile Peppers: A Global History, says TAM be­came wide­spread in Texas af­ter its in­tro­duc­tion. It was much milder and larger than the tra­di­tional jalapeños, and genes of this mild pep­per en­tered the gen­eral jalapeño pool. Cross-breeding caused the gene pool to be­come over­all larger and milder.”

Since I know you’re won­der­ing who the in­ven­tors are: the clue is in the name TAM II. The hot (but also not hot) new jalapeño is an in­ven­tion of Texas A&M University. Yes, Aggies took the spice out of life.

And yes, II means it’s a se­quel. The orig­i­nal TAM came out much ear­lier and was pro­filed in a 1983 ar­ti­cle in the Christian Science Monitor. At the time, the A&M sci­en­tists es­ti­mated 800 acres were be­ing grown na­tion­ally, and they told re­porter Daniel Benedict that there was plenty of room left on the mar­ket for spicier stuff. (“For the hot-pep­per lover, there’s some­thing for him al­ready.”)

After 40 years of the milder pep­per en­joy­ing in­creased pop­u­lar­ity, virus re­sis­tance, higher yields, and a shiny new se­quel, hot­ter pre-TAM jalapeños ap­pear to have lost sub­stan­tial ground. Exact sta­tis­tics on plant­ing de­mand are hard to ob­tain be­cause grow­ers do not want to tip off seed sup­pli­ers on how to price their prod­ucts.

As the in­ven­tion of TAM I and II sug­gests, jalapeño” as a name does not con­note a sin­gle breed or ge­netic line. There are va­ri­eties of jalapeño as there are of toma­toes. Mitla pep­pers are at the op­po­site end of the scale from TAMs, some­times reach­ing 8000 Scoville units. (The A&M pa­per de­rides Mitlas since they are of­ten wonkily curved, and need more culling.)

In my in­ter­views around Dallas, I learned many restau­ra­teurs don’t know what breed their sup­plier is of­fer­ing, or even that var­i­ous breeds ex­ist. At Hutchins BBQ, which em­ploys four peo­ple full-time prepar­ing around 7,000 jalapeños a week for its iconic brisket-stuffed Texas Twinkies, sup­pli­ers drop off pep­pers and the bar­be­cue joint sorts through, pick­ing the spec­i­mens they want and re­turn­ing the rest. Hutchins de­seeds the pep­pers to re­duce any re­main­ing heat.

For heat seek­ers, Walker rec­om­mends Mitla and Early jalapeños; they’re called Early” not be­cause they were picked early but be­cause, as a breed, they grow quickly and are well-adapted to cooler en­vi­ron­ments.

Walker com­pares the cur­rent state of the pep­per in­dus­try with the world of American toma­toes, which were bred for har­di­ness in ship­ping, firm­ness, and can­ning. Only re­cently has an heir­loom tomato rev­o­lu­tion tried to cater di­rectly to home cooks and chefs with tomato breeds that em­pha­size fla­vor and juici­ness first.

People lost a lot of in­ter­est in toma­toes for a long time un­til heir­looms came back,” Walker said. Now we have the same thing with pep­pers. There’s a place for peo­ple to em­brace heir­loom pep­pers, the way that we have with toma­toes.”

For gar­den­ers and small grow­ers, the Chile Pepper Institute sells seeds but re­sults will al­ways be com­pli­cated, since a hot, dry sum­mer can turn even TAM jalapeños into weapons, and a cool, wet sea­son will re­sult in pam­pered plants. But how can you find hot­ter pep­pers if you are shop­ping, or look­ing to sup­ply your restau­rant?

Walker’s best ad­vice is to lobby sup­pli­ers and gro­cers for spe­cific pep­per breeds. Ask a pro­duce man­ager or a sup­plier if you can get Early or Mitla pep­pers, or if the store can la­bel its pep­per breeds. And ig­nore the bo­gus fac­toids spread by many on­line shop­ping guides. I found a Rachael Ray Show ar­ti­cle claim­ing that big­ger pep­pers are al­ways spicier than smaller ones—which con­tra­dicts every­thing I had just learned about TAMs be­ing de­lib­er­ately en­gi­neered for size. Walker called that tip misinformation.”

If lob­by­ing your gro­cery man­agers sounds like a fu­tile ef­fort, look at the changes that have rip­pled through the tomato in­dus­try as breed­ers re-em­brace heir­looms. Or look at the wide­spread adop­tion of a less stinky breed of Brussels sprouts, sci­en­tif­i­cally de­vel­oped through a sim­i­lar se­lec­tive breed­ing process, which turned that veg­etable from a punch­line into a fa­vorite.

I think it’s a great op­por­tu­nity for grow­ers who re­ally want to get into spe­cial­iz­ing in some of these heir­loom va­ri­eties,” Walker said.

Let’s hope some farm­ers are read­ing this and yearn­ing for the days when a jalapeño was a re­li­able source of spice. Those days can re­turn.


Read the original on www.dmagazine.com »

8 244 shares, 14 trendiness

Why Isn’t Taxpayer-Funded U.S. Broadband Mapping Data Owned By The Public?

We’ve noted for decades how, de­spite all the po­lit­i­cal lip ser­vice paid to­ward bridging the dig­i­tal di­vide,” the U. S. doesn’t truly know where broad­band is or is­n’t avail­able. The FCCs past broad­band maps, which cost $350 mil­lion to de­velop, have long been ac­cused of all but hal­lu­ci­nat­ing com­peti­tors, mak­ing up avail­able speeds, and ex­clud­ing a key met­ric of com­pet­i­tive­ness: price.

You only need to spend a few min­utes plug­ging your ad­dress into the FCC’s old map to no­tice how the agency com­i­cally over­states broad­band com­pe­ti­tion and avail­able speeds. After be­ing man­dated by Congress in 2020 by the Broadband DATA Act, the FCC struck a new, $44 mil­lion con­tract with a com­pany named Costquest to de­velop a new map.

While an im­prove­ment, the new map still has prob­lems with over-stat­ing cov­er­age and avail­able speeds (try it for your­self). And the FCC still re­fuses to col­lect and share pric­ing data, which in­dus­try op­poses be­cause it would only work to fur­ther high­light mo­nop­o­liza­tion, con­sol­i­da­tion, and muted com­pe­ti­tion.

But there’s an­other prob­lem. As broad­band in­dus­try con­sul­tant Doug Dawson notes, the pub­lic does­n’t even own the fi­nal­ized broad­band map­ping data. Costquest does:

…the FCC gave CostQuest the abil­ity to own the rights to the map­ping fab­ric, which is the data­base that shows the lo­ca­tion of every home and busi­ness in the coun­try that is a po­ten­tial broad­band cus­tomer. This is a big deal be­cause it means that CostQuest, a pri­vate com­pany, con­trols the por­tal for data needed by the pub­lic to un­der­stand who has or does­n’t have broad­band.”

In ad­di­tion to the $44.9 mil­lion the FCC paid Costquest to cre­ate the maps, Costquest re­ceived an­other $49.9 mil­lion from the NTIA to pro­vide the data­bases and maps for the $42 bil­lion broad­band sub­sidy and grant pro­gram (included in the 2021 in­fra­struc­ture bill). Third par­ties (like states try­ing to shore up ac­cess to af­ford­able broad­band) have to pay Costquest even more money to ac­cess the data.

So it’s all been in­cred­i­bly prof­itable for Costquest. But tax­pay­ers are clos­ing in on pay­ing nearly half a bil­lion dol­lars for broad­band maps that not only still aren’t fully ac­cu­rate, but which they can’t trans­par­ently ac­cess and don’t own de­spite pay­ing for.

That’s fairly in­sane any way you slice it, and as Dawson notes, it’s a detri­ment to the cash-strapped folks who could be help­ing ex­pand ac­cess to af­ford­able broad­band (and help­ing fact-check the data):

Our in­dus­try is full of data geeks who could work won­ders if they had free ac­cess to the map­ping fab­ric data­base. There are cit­i­zen broad­band com­mit­tees and re­tired folks in every com­mu­nity who are will­ing to sift through the map­ping data to un­der­stand broad­band trends and to iden­tify lo­ca­tions where ISPs have ex­ag­ger­ated cov­er­age claims. But cit­i­zens will­ing to do this re­search are not go­ing to pay the fees to get ac­cess to the data — and should­n’t have to.”

For decades, feck­less and cor­rupt state and fed­eral reg­u­la­tors turned a blind eye as re­gional tele­com mo­nop­o­lies dom­i­nated the mar­ket and crushed all com­pe­ti­tion un­der­foot, re­sult­ing in spotty ac­cess, high prices, and ter­ri­ble cus­tomer ser­vice. Usually un­der the pre­tense that deregulation” (read: very lit­tle real con­sumer pro­tec­tion over­sight) had re­sulted in im­mense in­no­va­tion.

Not only did gov­ern­ment not ad­dress (or of­ten even ac­knowl­edge) that prob­lem, they’re still prov­ing some­what in­ca­pable when it comes to trans­par­ently map­ping its im­pact.

The $42 bil­lion in sub­si­dies flow­ing to many states to shore up ac­cess is a good thing, but its im­pact will most as­suredly be cor­rupted by feck­less bu­reau­crats who can’t stand up to in­dus­try gi­ants, aren’t keen on the idea of data trans­parency, and will lack the courage nec­es­sary to en­sure gi­ant mo­nop­o­lies with a his­tory of fraud (like Comcast and AT&T) don’t pocket most of the funds.


Read the original on www.techdirt.com »

9 211 shares, 20 trendiness

About Rapier

Rapier is a set of 2D and 3D physics en­gines writ­ten us­ing the Rust pro­gram­ming lan­guage. It tar­gets ap­pli­ca­tions re­quir­ing real-time physics like video games, an­i­ma­tion, and ro­bot­ics. It is de­signed to be fast, sta­ble, and op­tion­ally cross-plat­form de­ter­min­is­tic. Rapier fea­tures in­clude:

Rapier is free and open-source, re­leased un­der the Apache 2.0 li­cense. It is de­vel­oped by the Dimforge

open-source com­pany. You can sup­port us by spon­sor­ing us on GitHub spon­sor.


Read the original on rapier.rs »

10 177 shares, 10 trendiness


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