Shared posts

29 Sep 16:00

Mother of God

by Laura Cok

My mother thinks I’m going to hell. That it is a real place (though not, she would qualify, full of brimstone; her idea of hell is dark, and chaotic, and utterly without God). My grandfather, when he was in hospice care, said between labored breaths how glad he was that all of his four grandchildren had made their Profession of Faith. He said about his daughter-in-law, my aunt, “I believe she knows the Lord, but I’d like to be a little more sure.” My mother held very still, her face turned away, though not so sharply that it would seem deliberate. He was wrong, when he said four. He was remembering me the way he would like me to be.

At his bedside my mother prayed. Always a gifted speaker, even then, eloquent and quietly devout. They spoke of the funeral service: which verses did he want, and which hymns. She didn’t look at me. The room was too hot, kept that way for the thin patients, who were freezing to death in the damp May air, their hearts pumping more and more slowly. He’d been confused all day, mistaking me for my mother, and my mother for his wife. I have not made Profession of Faith, and my mother has stopped asking. When she prayed out loud she didn’t suggest that I join in, as though it hadn’t occurred to her, although maybe it would have in other families, with other daughters.

My mother is a minister in the Christian Reformed Church of America, a denomination of less than 300,000 members. Women in ministry are a relatively new thing in this conservative denomination, and the fight for her ordination has been my silent twin, alongside me from birth. When I was eight years old, I walked home from school and found my mother upstairs in bed, the lights out and the curtains drawn against the relentless California sun. She had a washcloth laid over her face, which she handed to me.

“Can you make this cold again?” she asked me. I didn’t understand. “Run it under cold water, then wring it out.”

When I brought it back to her I asked, “What’s going on?” My younger brothers must have been home as well, playing with Legos in their room, but I don’t remember them. It was my mother and me, alone in the dark vaulted space at the top of the house.

She had been crying. “The council decided,” she said, “that the time isn’t right. They aren’t going to let me preach.” She turned her face away.

Read more Mother of God at The Toast.

30 Sep 15:33

The Federalist Pages: What Neil deGrasse Tyson and Conservative Bloggers Tell Us About Wikipedia and US Politics

by William Beutler

You might be surprised to learn that Wikipedia has a formal policy called “Wikipedia is not a battleground”. Not that anyone seems to have got the memo: although Wikipedia’s rules kindly suggest that its editors not use articles to advance ideological or partisan interests, in practice there’s no reason to think that it can work like that. And should we really want it to be otherwise?

This brings us to the latest partisan battle to make its way from the political blogosphere (if we still call it that?) to the pages of Wikipedia: Tyson-gate (or: Tyson-ghazi?). Earlier this month, a new-ish right-of-center web magazine called The Federalist (whose contributors, I should say, include several friends) started publishing a series of articles pointing out inaccuracies—or possibly fabrications—by the celebrated scientist, media personality and Colbert Report regular Neil deGrasse Tyson.

640px-Bill_Nye,_Barack_Obama_and_Neil_deGrasse_Tyson_selfie_2014Federalist co-founder Sean Davis made a pretty strong case that a quote Tyson attributed to former President George W. Bush did not in fact exist; Tyson eventually acknowledged the error, though it wasn’t quickly forthcoming. While subsequent events have made it clear that Davis had the goods on Tyson, his rhetorical style leaves much to be desired: Davis insists on words like “fabricated” implying an insight into the nature of Tyson’s error that he really can’t know. Davis isn’t alone in this; on the left, Media Matters routinely uses the unforgiving phrase “falsely claims” to describe conservative opinions all the time. This puts me in mind of another Wikipedia policy inconsistently observed: “Comment on content, not the contributor” Remember this point, because I’m going to come back to it.

Anyway, of course the battle made its way to the front lines of the war of ideas, Wikipedia. What happened over the last week was simple enough: one person added a lengthy summary of Davis’ allegations to Tyson’s Wikipedia bio; someone else reverted it very quickly, claiming that it went too far; another editor tried a shorter version; yet another editor removed it again for being “original research”; around and around it went like this from September 16 to 21. When I started compiling links on Tuesday the 29th, a fairly short, but also short-on-context version of this passage read:

Tyson has claimed that, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, then-President George W. Bush said, “Our God is the God who named the stars,” in order to “distinguish we from they (Muslims)”.[59] Tom Jackson of the Tampa Tribune called it “… a vicious, gratuitous slander.”[60]

But then a longer version which appeared later in the day seemed like too much:

Tyson had claimed that, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, then-President George W. Bush said, “Our God is the God who named the stars,” in order to “distinguish we from they (Muslims)”.[58] Neil Tyson has confirmed that he was actually referring to President Bush’s February 2003 speech on the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster and that he “transposed one disaster with another (both occurring within 18 months of one another) in my assigning his quote.” [59] In that speech then-President George W. Bush quotes Isaiah when he said “He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name.”[60] Then George W. Bush said, “The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today.” [61]

As of this writing, all mention of the controversy has been removed, and the article has been temporarily locked to prevent further edit warring. Meanwhile, the debate on the Neil deGrasse Tyson discussion page has run to some 50,000 (!) words since mid-September, comprising at least one Request for Comment where the only real conclusion so far is: “This has become unproductive.”

Meanwhile, someone put The Federalist’s own Wikipedia article up for deletion, possibly out of spite, but also possibly because it seemed like a borderline eligibility case based on included sources at the time. Nevertheless, it seems likely that a very short version of the article will be kept once the arguing here is through. (And as more than one contributor has noted, the more attention this gets in the political media, the more “Notable” The Federalist likely becomes.)

Throughout this debate, Davis and The Federalist haven’t been doing themselves any favors. Sean Davis of course is as much reporting on his own fight with Tyson as he is reporting on Tyson, including multiple articles about the debate on Wikipedia.
This included an initial summary on September 18 that continued blithely pushing the “fabrication” claim and proudly quoted an unnamed Wikipedian saying “no version of this event will be allowed into the article” as if this unnamed editor spoke for all of Wikipedia. Worse still was a follow-up by Davis called “9 Absurd Edit Justifications By Wikipedia’s Neil Tyson Truthers” that pointed to fairly standard considerations for inclusion or exclusion of controversial material as if it was patent nonsense. For instance, these two comments:

It doesn’t matter if we can demonstrate it happened or not, many things happen in many people lives, we don’t write each of them into every persons biography. …

[T]his is being kept off because Wikipedia is deeply conservative in the non-political meaning of the word.

Davis may not like these answers, but they are anything but unreasonable points to make in a content dispute, especially about a living person whose reputation is (to some degree) at stake. Indeed, the same policy that points out Wikipedia is not a battleground also points out: “[N]ot all verifiable events are suitable for inclusion in Wikipedia.”

The problem is not that Davis is wrong; in fact, some of the objections to the topic’s inclusion were possibly mistaken, arrived at prematurely, or later invalidated by the emergence of new sources. The problem is not even that Davis is treating Wikipedia as a battleground—after all, Wikipedia is where we go to argue about such things. If Wikipedia is to be the “sum of human knowledge”, that very much includes contentious material related to political and ideological battles.

The problem is actually one of good faith—and here we come to a policy that is also frequently ignored on Wikipedia, but would it be followed better, we could have all been saved a few weeks and tens of thousands of words: “Assume good faith”. And as problems go, it is one that exists on both sides, although it tends to be the case that one side usually goes further—which either produces a decisive political victory or defeat. Davis has this territory pretty well staked out with this column that doesn’t accomplish anything but to “falsely claim” Wikipedia is a single entity entirely comprising lying liars of the left.

The political blogosphere was a source of fascination for me in the early part of my career, in particular writing about it in a sadly departed column called The Blogometer for National Journal’s Hotline. Starting in the late 2000s, I turned my focus more to Wikipedia, in particular writing about it on this blog. There are numerous parallels, but the least savory is the tendency of both to bog down in bitter recrimination. Witness also the fight over the Chelsea Manning Wikipedia entry from late last year.

Part of me thinks that Wikipedia shouldn’t worry about these fights, only about whether or not they continue to occur at Wikipedia; even an ugly debate is better than none at all, right? But considering the voluminous anecdotal evidence that Wikipedia’s eroding editor base and absurd gender gap owe something to its tolerance for incivility—despite the existence of a policy stating otherwise and a speech by Jimmy Wales at Wikimania this year calling for a renewed emphasis upon it—this is something the Wikipedia community had better take seriously.

Of course, this doesn’t exist in a vacuum: Sean Davis, The Federalist, left-leaning Wikipedia editors, and even Neil deGrasse Tyson with his bullshit political anecdotes (I am using Harry Frankfurt’s precise definition) aren’t quite the problem; they are merely avatars of it. Everything that’s wrong with US politics—where to start!—eventually finds its way to Wikipedia.

But there remains one important difference between the blogosphere and Wikipedia: rules. The blogosphere does not have them; Wikipedia does, and these rules shape the debate that occurs on its talk pages. Without these rules, it would just be endless edit wars of attrition. The problem with Wikipedia, then, is not its rules but how it enforces them. Wikipedia’s community should be asking itself: what kind of battleground do we want to be?

Photo via the White House / Flickr.

01 Oct 00:34

App Of The Day

by Andrew Sullivan
Adam Victor Brandizzi

Esperando ansiosamente que chegue aqui.

Claire Cain Miller has details:

Enter a San Francisco start-up called Shyp, which [expanded] to New York [yesterday]. For a small fee, it fetches, boxes and mails parcels for you. The other week, I had a get-well package to mail to my cousin. I opened the app, snapped a photo of the items I wanted to send and entered her address. Fifteen minutes later, someone was at my door — and that was it. No boxes, no tape, no weighing, no buying stamps, no standing in line. …

Technology has conditioned us to expect ease, efficiency and speed in almost everything we do. Once it came from sewing machines and dishwashers, later from Google and Kayak, and most recently from start-ups that provide on-demand services like Uber for cars, Instacart for groceries and Munchery for dinner. The post office, with its slow-moving lines and cumbersome packing supplies, offers exactly the opposite.

Update from a reader:

It is amazing to me that people know so little about Post Office services. You can pick up a box (or boxes); keep them at home; put the stuff you are sending in said box; go to and click on “ship a package”. Fill out the info; print the label; pay the cost with a credit card or Paypal and either drop in a Post Office or give it to your carrier. You never have to leave home and the cost is the Post Office cost not an inflated app cost. I send all my packages this way. Maybe they should call it a “Post Office app” so people will use it!

30 Sep 16:00

bunnyfood: That face. Hipopótamos são grandes sapos mamíferos.


That face.

Hipopótamos são grandes sapos mamíferos.

29 Sep 19:16

Too all of those who took these pictures: thank you! (from...

Too all of those who took these pictures: thank you! (from

29 Sep 20:00

bunnyfood: (via reblog-gif:gifini)

29 Sep 18:50

Mining Bitcoin with pencil and paper: 0.67 hashes per day

Adam Victor Brandizzi

Ele não menciona o passo Σ(coisas a fazer) porque o resultado é claramente 0.
. . .
Contudo: deveras interessante ver o algoritmo na mão; só não é exatamente Bitcoin, é só o hash.

I decided to see how practical it would be to mine Bitcoin with pencil and paper. It turns out that the SHA-256 algorithm used for mining is pretty simple and can in fact be done by hand. Not surprisingly, the process is extremely slow compared to hardware mining and is entirely impractical. But performing the algorithm manually is a good way to understand exactly how it works.

A pencil-and-paper round of SHA-256

A pencil-and-paper round of SHA-256

The mining process

Bitcoin mining is a key part of the security of the Bitcoin system. The idea is that Bitcoin miners group a bunch of Bitcoin transactions into a block, then repeatedly perform a cryptographic operation called hashing zillions of times until someone finds a special extremely rare hash value. At this point, the block has been mined and becomes part of the Bitcoin block chain. The hashing task itself doesn't accomplish anything useful in itself, but because finding a successful block is so difficult, it ensures that no individual has the resources to take over the Bitcoin system. For more details on mining, see my Bitcoin mining article.

A cryptographic hash function takes a block of input data and creates a smaller, unpredictable output. The hash function is designed so there's no "short cut" to get the desired output - you just have to keep hashing blocks until you find one by brute force that works. For Bitcoin, the hash function is a function called SHA-256. To provide additional security, Bitcoin applies the SHA-256 function twice, a process known as double-SHA-256.

In Bitcoin, a successful hash is one that starts with enough zeros.[1] Just as it is rare to find a phone number or license plate ending in multiple zeros, it is rare to find a hash starting with multiple zeros. But Bitcoin is exponentially harder. Currently, a successful hash must start with approximately 17 zeros, so only one out of 1.4x1020 hashes will be successful. In other words, finding a successful hash is harder than finding a particular grain of sand out of all the grains of sand on Earth.

The following diagram shows a block in the Bitcoin blockchain along with its hash. The yellow bytes are hashed to generate the block hash. In this case, the resulting hash starts with enough zeros so mining was successful. However, the hash will almost always be unsuccessful. In that case, the miner changes the nonce value or other block contents and tries again.

Structure of a Bitcoin block

Structure of a Bitcoin block

The SHA-256 hash algorithm used by Bitcoin

The SHA-256 hash algorithm takes input blocks of 512 bits (i.e. 64 bytes), combines the data cryptographically, and generates a 256-bit (32 byte) output. The SHA-256 algorithm consists of a relatively simple round repeated 64 times. The diagram below shows one round, which takes eight 4-byte inputs, A through H, performs a few operations, and generates new values of A through H.

SHA-256 round, from Wikipedia

One round of the SHA-256 algorithm showing the 8 input blocks A-H, the processing steps, and the new blocks. Diagram created by kockmeyer, CC BY-SA 3.0.

The blue boxes mix up the values in non-linear ways that are hard to analyze cryptographically. Since the algorithm uses several different functions, discovering an attack is harder. (If you could figure out a mathematical shortcut to generate successful hashes, you could take over Bitcoin mining.)

The Ma majority box looks at the bits of A, B, and C. For each position, if the majority of the bits are 0, it outputs 0. Otherwise it outputs 1. That is, for each position in A, B, and C, look at the number of 1 bits. If it is zero or one, output 0. If it is two or three, output 1.

The Σ0 box rotates the bits of A to form three rotated versions, and then sums them together modulo 2. In other words, if the number of 1 bits is odd, the sum is 1; otherwise, it is 0. The three values in the sum are A rotated right by 2 bits, 13 bits, and 22 bits.

The Ch "choose" box chooses output bits based on the value of input E. If a bit of E is 1, the output bit is the corresponding bit of F. If a bit of E is 0, the output bit is the corresponding bit of G. In this way, the bits of F and G are shuffled together based on the value of E.

The next box Σ1 rotates and sums the bits of E, similar to Σ0 except the shifts are 6, 11, and 25 bits.

The red boxes perform 32-bit addition, generating new values for A and E. The input Wt is based on the input data, slightly processed. (This is where the input block gets fed into the algorithm.) The input Kt is a constant defined for each round.[2]

As can be seen from the diagram above, only A and E are changed in a round. The other values pass through unchanged, with the old A value becoming the new B value, the old B value becoming the new C value and so forth. Although each round of SHA-256 doesn't change the data much, after 64 rounds the input data will be completely scrambled.[3]

Manual mining

The video below shows how the SHA-256 hashing steps described above can be performed with pencil and paper. I perform the first round of hashing to mine a block. Completing this round took me 16 minutes, 45 seconds.

To explain what's on the paper: I've written each block A through H in hex on a separate row and put the binary value below. The maj operation appears below C, and the shifts and Σ0 appear above row A. Likewise, the choose operation appears below G, and the shifts and Σ1 above E. In the lower right, a bunch of terms are added together, corresponding to the first three red sum boxes. In the upper right, this sum is used to generate the new A value, and in the middle right, this sum is used to generate the new E value. These steps all correspond to the diagram and discussion above.

I also manually performed another hash round, the last round to finish hashing the Bitcoin block. In the image below, the hash result is highlighted in yellow. The zeroes in this hash show that it is a successful hash. Note that the zeroes are at the end of the hash. The reason is that Bitcoin inconveniently reverses all the bytes generated by SHA-256.[4]

Last pencil-and-paper round of SHA-256, showing a successfully-mined Bitcoin block.

Last pencil-and-paper round of SHA-256, showing a successfully-mined Bitcoin block.

What this means for mining hardware

Each step of SHA-256 is very easy to implement in digital logic - simple Boolean operations and 32-bit addition. (If you've studied electronics, you can probably visualize the circuits already.) For this reason, custom ASIC chips can implement the SHA-256 algorithm very efficiently in hardware, putting hundreds of rounds on a chip in parallel. The image below shows a mining chip that runs at 2-3 billion hashes/second; Zeptobars has more photos.

The silicon die inside a Bitfury ASIC chip. This chip mines Bitcoin at 2-3 Ghash/second. Image from (CC BY 3.0 license)

The silicon die inside a Bitfury ASIC chip. This chip mines Bitcoin at 2-3 Ghash/second. Image from Zeptobars. (CC BY 3.0)

In contrast, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and similar altcoins use the scrypt hash algorithm, which is intentionally designed to be difficult to implement in hardware. It stores 1024 different hash values into memory, and then combines them in unpredictable ways to get the final result. As a result, much more circuitry and memory is required for scrypt than for SHA-256 hashes. You can see the impact by looking at mining hardware, which is thousands of times slower for scrypt (Litecoin, etc) than for SHA-256 (Bitcoin).


The SHA-256 algorithm is surprisingly simple, easy enough to do by hand. (The elliptic curve algorithm for signing Bitcoin transactions would be very painful to do by hand since it has lots of multiplication of 32-byte integers.) Doing one round of SHA-256 by hand took me 16 minutes, 45 seconds. At this rate, hashing a full Bitcoin block (128 rounds)[3] would take 1.49 days, for a hash rate of 0.67 hashes per day (although I would probably get faster with practice). In comparison, current Bitcoin mining hardware does several terahashes per second, about a quintillion times faster than my manual hashing. Needless to say, manual Bitcoin mining is not at all practical.[5]

A Reddit reader asked about my energy consumption. There's not much physical exertion, so assuming a resting metabolic rate of 1500kcal/day, manual hashing works out to almost 10 megajoules/hash. A typical energy consumption for mining hardware is 1000 megahashes/joule. So I'm less energy efficient by a factor of 10^16, or 10 quadrillion. The next question is the energy cost. A cheap source of food energy is donuts at $0.23 for 200 kcalories. Electricity here is $0.15/kilowatt-hour, which is cheaper by a factor of 6.7 - closer than I expected. Thus my energy cost per hash is about 67 quadrillion times that of mining hardware. It's clear I'm not going to make my fortune off manual mining, and I haven't even included the cost of all the paper and pencils I'll need.


[1] It's not exactly the number of zeros at the start of the hash that matters. To be precise, the hash must be less than a particular value that depends on the current Bitcoin difficulty level.

[2] The source of the constants used in SHA-256 is interesting. The NSA designed the SHA-256 algorithm and picked the values for these constants, so how do you know they didn't pick special values that let them break the hash? To avoid suspicion, the initial hash values come from the square roots of the first 8 primes, and the Kt values come from the cube roots of the first 64 primes. Since these constants come from a simple formula, you can trust that the NSA didn't do anything shady (at least with the constants).

[3] Unfortunately the SHA-256 hash works on a block of 512 bits, but the Bitcoin block header is more than 512 bits. Thus, a second set of 64 SHA-256 hash rounds is required on the second half of the Bitcoin block. Next, Bitcoin uses double-SHA-256, so a second application of SHA-256 (64 rounds) is done to the result. Adding this up, hashing an arbitrary Bitcoin block takes 192 rounds in total. However there is a shortcut. Mining involves hashing the same block over and over, just changing the nonce which appears in the second half of the block. Thus, mining can reuse the result of hashing the first 512 bits, and hashing a Bitcoin block typically only requires 128 rounds.

[4] Obviously I didn't just have incredible good fortune to end up with a successful hash. I started the hashing process with a block that had already been successfully mined. In particular I used the one displayed earlier in this article, #286819.

[5] Another problem with manual mining is new blocks are mined about every 10 minutes, so even if I did succeed in mining a block, it would be totally obsolete (orphaned) by the time I finished.

Bookmarked at brandizzi Delicious' sharing tag and expanded by Delicious sharing tag expander.
29 Sep 22:59

Think You’re a Fraud? Think Again.

Meaghan Lewis is an imposter, and so are you. If you’re afflicted with Imposter Syndrome, as 70% of successful people are, you might feel like a fraud because your accomplishments are inadequate. Many people with Imposter Syndrome attribute their success to luck or timing, instead of their own hard work. They report “waiting to be found out.”

Ironically, imposters are the ones who are most likely to be high achievers.

In March 2014, ThoughtWorker and Quality Assurance Analyst Meaghan Lewis presented on the Imposter Syndrome and how it affects women of color at the National Society of Black Engineers. While our fellow imposters come from different races, genders, and socioeconomic classes, it does disproportionately affect women of color, especially in a male-driven industry like technology.

Meghan Lewis

I sat down with Meaghan  to discuss the phenomenon and ways to overcome the false feeling of being a fake.

Fiona Lee: What inspired you to give your talk on the Imposter Syndrome?

Meaghan Lewis: I never felt like I was good enough growing up. In school, I didn’t feel like I was being supported at times. I really just wanted to be good at whatever I applied myself to. At a time when I just wanted to fit in, I somehow felt different and that I wasn’t quite good enough. I discovered a few years back that there is a term for this feeling: the Imposter Syndrome.

It was important to open a discussion up with women and minority groups who felt the symptoms of the Imposter Syndrome. Some of us begin to feel like “imposters” because we don’t happen to look like our peers and colleagues. 

FL: Do you think the Imposter Syndrome disproportionately affects women and minorities?

ML: I would say so. While it’s certainly not something that applies to any one gender, traditionally it’s held women back more than men. Just to be clear: anyone can have these feelings of inadequacy, but I think it’s safe to say that women have had different challenges than men. Minority groups have been affected in the same way.

FL: What are some of the specific challenges women and minorities face?

ML:  The way men and women are viewed differently. For example, women are sometimes referred to as being “bossy,” whereas men may not feel the same sort of push-back when they try to demonstrate leadership qualities. The confidence gap starts at a very early age. I also believe it is something that can be combated even before kids start elementary school by showing girls that they are empowered and that they do have a voice.

FL: How do people internalize the effects of the Imposter Syndrome?

ML: The feelings I was discussing earlier tend to pop up when you come across new and unfamiliar situations. For example a new job or promotion, where you’re not entirely sure how to respond to new responsibilities can cause anxiety. You may start to feel like people are looking up to you and expecting a lot out of you, and you’re not sure that you can live up to these perceived expectations. I felt particularly impacted by Imposter Syndrome in school, where I was the only female in the engineering program. I began to feel like the men in my program were smarter and more on the ball than I was, which was completely illogical.

FL: How would you bridge this confidence gap?

ML: One thing that really helps is finding support systems inside your community. For example, a group of friends or people that you trust to share your feelings with. Just talking and getting it out there helps immensely. A big part of the Imposter Syndrome is that it takes place on an internal level and you keep these really negative thoughts to yourself. When you start talking to others about Imposter Syndrome, you can begin to share methods used to overcome it.

Having groups of people you can confide in is the key to bridging the confidence gap and helping to grow as an individual. You can find this alliance in friends, colleagues, meetup groups, or conferences. Whatever feels most comfortable to you. Just a couple weeks ago, ThoughtWorks hosted a breakfast for women of color in tech. We discussed topics that have affected us in their own ways. For example, one topic was 'How you want to be perceived in the workplace and if you are really perceived that way or not'. It was great for us to know other women out there feel the same way and interesting to see how they handled this challenge.

It’s also important to stress the power of positive thinking. There are always going to be times when you’re uncertain and there are always going to be times when you think you’re going to fail. It’s how you react to these feelings that will ultimately impact the outcome.

Check out Meaghan's presentation on the Imposter Syndrome here.

Join Us

If you're really bright, passionate about world-changing software and want to do something amazing, join us.

Bookmarked at brandizzi Delicious' sharing tag and expanded by Delicious sharing tag expander.
29 Sep 23:34

JS Parse and Execution Time

At Velocity NY, Daniel Espeset of Etsy gave a great talk about how Etsy profiles their JavaScript parse and execution time. Even better, after the talk, they released the tool on GitHub.

Daniel shared a few examples in his deck, but I couldn’t wait to take Daniel’s tool and fire it up on a bunch of random browsers and devices that I have sitting around.

For this test, I decided to profile just jQuery 2.1.1, which weighs in at 88kb when minimized. jQuery was selected for its popularity, not because it’s the worst offender. There are many libraries much worse (hey there Angular and your 120kb payload). The results above are based on the median times taken from 20 tests per browser/device combination.

The list of tested devices isn’t exhaustive by any means—I just took some of the ones I have sitting around to try and get a picture of how much parse and execution time would vary.

Parse and execution times of minimized jQuery 2.1.1
Device Browser Median Parse Median Execution Median Total
Blackberry 9650 Default, BB6 171ms 554ms 725ms
UMX U670C Android 2.3.6 Browser 168ms 484ms 652ms
Galaxy S3 Chrome 32 39ms 297ms 336ms
Galaxy S3 UC 8.6 45ms 215ms 260ms
Galaxy S3 Dolphin 10 2ms 222ms 224ms
Kindle Touch Kindle 3.0+ 63ms 132ms 195ms
Geeksphone Peak Firefox 25 51ms 109ms 160ms
Kindle Fire Silk 3.17 16ms 139ms 155ms
Lumia 520 IE10 97ms 56ms 153ms
Galaxy S3 Android 4.1.1 Browser 3ms 125ms 128ms
Kindle Paperwhite Kindle 3.0+ 43ms 71ms 114ms
Lumia 920 IE10 70ms 37ms 107ms
Droid X Android 2.3.4 Browser 6ms 96ms 102ms
Nexus 5 Chrome 37 11ms 81ms 92ms
iPod Touch iOS 6 26ms 37ms 63ms
Nexus 5 Firefox 32 20ms 41ms 61ms
iPad Mini iOS6 16ms 30ms 46ms
Macbook Air (2014) Chrome 37 5ms 29ms 34ms
Macbook Air (2014) Opera 9.8 14ms 5ms 19ms
iPhone 5s iOS 7 2ms 16ms 18ms
Macbook Air (2014) Firefox 31 4ms 10ms 14ms
iPad (4th Gen) iOS 7 1ms 13ms 14ms
iPhone 5s Chrome 37 2ms 8ms 10ms
Macbook Air (2014) Safari 7 1ms 4ms 5ms

As you can see from the table above, even in this small sample size the parsing and execution times varied dramatically from device to device and browser to browser. On powerful devices, like my Macbook Air (2014), parse and execution time was negligible. Powerful mobile devices like the iPhone 5s also fared very well.

But as soon as you moved away from the latest and greatest top-end devices, the ugly truth of JS parse and execution time started to rear its head.

On a Blackberry 9650 (running BB6), the combined time to parse and execute jQuery was a whopping 725ms. My UMX running Android 2.3.6 took 652ms. Before you laugh off this little device running the 2.3.6 browser, it’s worth mentioning I bought this a month ago, brand new. It’s a device actively being sold by a few prepaid networks.

Another interesting note was how significant the impact of hardware has on the timing. The Lumia 520, despite running the same browser as the 920, had a median parse and execution time that was 46% slower than the 920. The Kindle Touch, despite running the same browser as the Paperwhite, was 71% slower than it’s more powerful replacement. How powerful the device was, not just the browser, had a large impact.

This is notable because we’re seeing companies such as Mozilla and Google targeting emerging markets with affordable, low-powered devices that otherwise run modern browsers. Those markets are going to dominate internet growth over the next few years, and affordability is a more necessary feature than a souped up device.

In addition, as the cost of technology cheapens, we’re going to continue seeing an incredibly diverse set of connected devices. With endless new form factors being released (even the Android Wear watches quickly got a Chromium based browser), the adage about not knowing where our sites will end up has never been more true.

The truly frightening thing about these parse and execution times is that this is for the latest version of jQuery, and only the latest version of jQuery. No older versions. No additional plugins or frameworks. According to the latest run of HTTP Archive, the median JS transfer size is 230kb and this test includes just a fraction of that size. I’m not even asking jQuery to actually do anything. Basically, I’m lobbing the browsers a softball here—these are best case results.

This re-affirms what many have been arguing for some time: reducing your dependency on JS is not healthy merely for the minor percentage of people who have JS disabled—it improves the experience for everyone. When anything over 100ms stops feeling instantaneous and anything over 1000ms breaks the users flow, taking 700ms to parse your JavaScript cripples the user experience before it really has a chance to get started.

So what’s a web developer to do?

  1. Use less JavaScript. This is the simple one. Anything you can offload onto HTML or CSS, do it. JavaScript is fun and awesome but it’s also the most brittle layer of the web stack and, as we’ve seen, can seriously impact performance.

  2. Render on the server If you’re using a client-side MVC framework, make sure you pre-render on the server. If you build a client-side MVC framework and you’re not ensuring those templates can easily be rendered on the server as well, you’re being irresponsible. That’s a bug. A bug that impacts performance, stability and reach.

  3. Defer all the scripts. Defer every bit of JavaScript that you can. Get it out of the critical path. When it makes sense, take steps to defer the parsing as well. Google had a great post a few years back about how they reduced startup latency for Gmail. One of the things they did was initially comment out blocks of JavaScript so that it wouldn’t be parsed during page load. The result was a 10x reduction in startup latency. That number is probably different on today’s devices, but the approach still stands.

  4. Cut the mustard. I’m a big fan of “cutting the mustard”, an approach made popular by the BBC. This doesn’t solve the problem of low-end devices with modern browsers, but it will make a better experience for people using less capable browsers. Better yet, by consciously deciding not to overwhelm less capable browsers with excess scripts you not only provide a better experience for those users, but you reduce the need for extra polyfills and frameworks for modern browsers as well. On one recent project where we did this, the entire JavaScript for the site was about 43% of the size of jQuery alone!

There are certainly cases to be made for JS libraries, client-side MVC frameworks, and the like, but providing a quality, performant experience across a variety of devices and browsers requires that we take special care to ensure that the initial rendering is not reliant on them. Frameworks and libraries should be carefully considered additions, not the default.

When you consider the combination of weight, parse time and execution time, it becomes pretty clear that optimizing your JS and reducing your site’s reliance on it is one of the most impactful optimizations you can make.

Bookmarked at brandizzi Delicious' sharing tag and expanded by Delicious sharing tag expander.
28 Sep 04:29

yesawwwh: unamusedsloth: Even on an escalator. [Video] WHY...



Even on an escalator. [Video]


30 Sep 11:00

Palestra e debate “Por que o Brasil cresce pouco? “

30 de setembro de 2014 por mansueto

Aqueles que moram em Brasilia poderão participar de um debate interessante para o lançamento do livro do economista Marcos Mendes: “Por que o Brasil cresce pouco?”.

O evento será será no dia 06 de outubro e, além da palestra do próprio autor, haverá um debate com os economistas Raul Velloso, Marcos Lisboa e Samuel Pessoa. Para tornar o evento ainda mais interessante a audiência poderá participar do debate. Abaixo os detalhes do evento e, por favor, compareçam e participem do debate.

Palestrante: Marcos Mendes, doutor em economia pela USP, Consultor do Senado e autor da obra Por que o Brasil cresce pouco? Editora Elsevier.

Abertura: Presidente do TCU, Ministro Augusto Nardes

Debatedores confirmados: Dr. Marcos Lisboa, doutor em economia pela Penn University, Dr. Raul Velloso, doutor em economia pela Yale University e Dr. Samuel Pessôa, doutor em economia pela USP.

Data: 06.10.2014 (segunda-feira)
Abertura: 14 horas
Local: auditório do edifício sede do TCU
Público alvo: servidores do TCU e do Senado/Câmara dos Deputados e demais convidados.

Curtir isso:

Curtir Carregando...


28 Sep 20:20

n-nightingale: Working in customer service


Working in customer service

29 Sep 18:42


by Daniel Lafayette

essa é pra você, Levy


29 Sep 11:57

Mantis shrimps can see cancer, and scientists have now created a camera that does the same

Adam Victor Brandizzi

Fico pensando quem foi que saiu pegando os bichos no aquário um por um para testar isso.
. . .
. . .
. . .

Obviamente, não estou falando sério.

Inspired by the eyes of mantis shrimps, Australian researchers have created sensors that can detect cancer and visualise brain activity.


Image: Jung Hsuan/Shutterstock

Scientists from the University of Queensland in Australia have discovered that mantis shrimp have an incredibly useful ability - the marine creatures are able to see a variety of cancers inside our bodies. And they've now replicated that ability in a camera that could eventually be put into a smartphone.

Mantis shrimp can see cancer, and the activity of our neurons, because they have unique eyes, known as compound eyes. This type of eye is superbly tuned to detect polarised light - a type of light that reflects differently off different types of tissue, including cancerous or healthy tissue.

“Humans can’t see this, but a mantis shrimp could walk up to it and hit it,” said Justin Marshall from the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland in a press release.

“We see colour with hues and shades, and objects that contrast – a red apple in a green tree for example – but our research is revealing a number of animals that use polarised light to detect and discriminate between objects.”

His team have now worked with international collaborators to create a camera that can replicate this ability - eventually they hope they could lead to smartphone cameras that would allow people to scan their body for cancers at home.

“The camera that we’ve developed in close collaboration with US and UK scientists shoots video and could provide immediate feedback on detecting cancer and monitoring the activity of exposed nerve cells,” said Marshall. 

They did this by revealing that the compound eye of the mantis shrimp contains groups of photocells called ommatidia. Each of these ommatidium has thin micro-villi that can filter polarised light, as well as light-sensitive receptors.

To mimic this in the camera, the scientists used aluminium nanowires to replicate the polarisation-filtering microvilli, and placed these on top of photodiodes, which convert light into electrical current. 

“It converts the invisible messages into colours that our visual system is comfortable with," said Marshall.

While current imaging systems already use polarised light to detect cancer, there are limitations to the size of tumours they can detect, and they require large equipment. By replicating the eyes of mantis shrimp, the scientists hope to improve our technology to the point where it could be included into a smartphone. This would reduce the need for more invasive cancer detection methods, such as biopsies, and could help detect cancer earlier.

Impressively, the sensors developed by the University of Queensland team have already been used to “see” the activity of neurons inside a brain in real time, as well as providing early diagnosis of cancerous tissues in mice.

Their research is published in Proceedings of the IEEE.

Bookmarked at brandizzi Delicious' sharing tag and expanded by Delicious sharing tag expander.
29 Sep 18:00

Western Political Charters Throughout History, Summarized

by Mallory Ortberg
Adam Victor Brandizzi

"Perhaps we were a bit too ambitious."

The Eternal Peace, 532

"This should do it."

The Fifty-Year Peace, 562

"Perhaps we were a bit too ambitious."

Magna Carta, 1215

"One man in charge of everything? That's absurd and despotic. There should be twenty-five men in charge of everything."

Golden Bull, 1222

"You don't have to listen to the king if you don't really want to."

Barons' Letter, 1301

"The Pope can't have Scotland."
"Wait. Better not send it after all. Might upset him."

Edict of Worms, 1521

"Nobody talk to Martin."

Read more Western Political Charters Throughout History, Summarized at The Toast.

29 Sep 18:03

Quote For The Day

by Andrew Sullivan

“Some would say, it is not fair or it is unjust to deny same-sex partners the civil “right” to marry. In reality, it is not unjust at all because marriage and same-sex unions are essentially different realities. Justice actually requires society to maintain its long standing definition of marriage. To uphold God’s intent for marriage, in which sexual relations have their proper and exclusive place, is not to offend the dignity of homosexual persons. Of course, a central issue with many same-sex partners are the social benefits that are received through marriage … In trying to think of an analogous situation that could cause a pastor to deny Communion, one might think of an involved Catholic parishioner who was then ordained as a Protestant minister. They would likely be acting according to their sense of conscience and they would probably be a very good person, but they would have broken their communion with the Catholic Church in a very fundamental way,” – Bishop Michael Warfel of Montana, explaining why he stripped an elderly gay couple of their communion after they got a civil marriage license.

My italics. One wonders how a Protestant minister would be able to attend mass regularly at a local Catholic church as well. The hierarchs had better find a better analogy than that – and I wonder if they actually can. Heterosexuals can privately commit sodomy all the time within a public marriage and never arouse any suspicion of scandal; devout gays who simply want to protect themselves in civil marriage – and who are in their sixties and seventies – have no such lee-way.

Which is to say that the church is no longer penalizing heterosexual parishioners for sin; they are uniquely penalizing homosexual parishioners for love. How much longer can this specific discrimination and persecution of a minority be sustained without wider and wider revolt? How many of the next generation will find it possible to belong to a church which singles out a small minority for persecution in this way?

25 Sep 12:04

Status: apelando para este vídeo para relaxar. (Mas agora tá...

Status: apelando para este vídeo para relaxar. (Mas agora tá tudo bem)

25 Sep 17:45

Cristovam vai propor liberação da maconha para uso medicinal

Pedro França/Ag. Senado

“Já tenho argumentos suficientes para ver que é preciso, sim, aproveitar o poder medicinal que essa erva tem", diz Cristovam

O senador Cristovam Buarque (PDT-DF), relator da sugestão popular que propõe regulamentar o uso da maconha, afirmou que, concluídas cinco audiências públicas sobre o assunto, já tem argumentos para admitir o uso medicinal da erva. Cristovam, no entanto, disse que ainda não chegou a uma conclusão sobre a autorização para o uso recreativo.

O debate sobre a legalização do uso da maconha para fins medicinais e recreativos vem sendo feito na Comissão de Direitos Humanos (CDH) e é fruto de uma sugestão popular apresentada por meio do Portal e-Cidadania que recebeu mais de 20 mil assinaturas de apoio. Para Cristovam, uma coisa já ficou clara com os debates de até agora.

“A proposta que aqui chegou trazia a discussão em torno do uso para fins recreativos e para fins medicinais. Com o debate feito até aqui, eu já tenho argumentos suficientes para ver que é preciso, sim, aproveitar o poder medicinal que essa erva tem. Não dá para deixar tanta gente sofrendo por causa de um preconceito sobre o uso de uma droga”, afirmou o senador.

O uso medicinal, entretanto, levanta uma série de questões que ainda precisam ser esclarecidas, segundo o relator da proposta. “Vai ser produzida em uma farmácia, como o remédio que se toma para dor, que veio do ópio, que é proibido como droga, mas que é usado como matéria-prima? E aqueles que usam maconha para se proteger durante os tratamentos de quimioterapia, que têm de tomar o chá? A gente vai deixá-los produzir ou não? Mas, se deixá-los produzir, como é que vai limitar o tamanho?”

Cristovam explicou que a CDH vai fazer mais duas audiências públicas. Aí ele terá condições de apresentar o relatório sobre a sugestão de regulamentação da maconha. “Eu, hoje, não tenho posição sobre se a regulamentação é um caminho melhor ou pior do que o proibitismo de hoje. Mas tenho uma conclusão, sim: o proibitismo não está funcionando.

Pesquisadores, membros do governo, Ministério Público, Judiciário, polícia, representantes da ONU, psicólogos e psiquiatras, além de dezenas de pessoas que tiveram oportunidade de usar da palavra, participaram dos debates até o momento.

Nas reuniões já realizadas, apesar da falta de consenso sobre a liberação da droga para uso recreativo, houve forte apoio à liberação da maconha para fins medicinais. O uso terapêutico de substâncias como o canabidiol (CBD) tem se mostrado eficiente em pacientes que sofrem de condições como epilepsia grave, esclerose múltipla, esquizofrenia e mal de Parkinson.

Leia ainda: Senado estuda proposta de legalização da maconha

Mais sobre drogas

Assine a Revista Congresso em Foco

Bookmarked at brandizzi Delicious' sharing tag and expanded by Delicious sharing tag expander.
28 Sep 02:05

Why Did Docker Catch on Quickly and Why is it so Interesting?

Docker has rapidly become “the new thing” for computing in 2014. Why did that happen so quickly, and how has a Linux application container become so popular? Broadly, I think Docker is a great example of how to build a viral, developer-oriented product.

  1. A developer can figure out what Docker does, install it and do something useful with it in 15 minutes. I first heard this “rule” from Marten Mickos when talking about why MySQL was so successful: low friction to try it out, a simple concept, and useful functionality.
  2. Docker is a great name and it has a cute logo It resonates with what the product does and is easy to remember. Engineering-oriented founders sometimes seem to think that names and logos don’t matter if the product is good enough, but a great name can turbocharge adoption and build a valuable brand.
  3. The Docker product came from a non-threatening source, a small startup (DotCloud) that was able to broadly partner across the whole industry. If the same product had come from an established enterprise technology player, there would have been much more push-back from that player’s competitors, and the market would probably have split into several competing technologies.

The rapid adoption rate took everyone by surprise, and now it’s too late to build a competitor. So everyone is having to cooperate around a single container solution. This is great for the developers and end users, but means that several platform as a service (PaaS) vendors have lost control of their destiny somewhat as Docker did an end-run around their strategy.

Even if you don’t know or care what Docker is, I think it offers a very relevant playbook for how to build a developer-led business model.

Get ubiquity first, become the category leader, then convert that into business value and revenue opportunities later.

That leaves the remaining question of, what does Docker do that is interesting, and who might it compete with? I have four separate answers:

  1. Portability: Docker is a portable container that packages any Linux application or service. A package that is created and tested on a developer’s laptop using any language or framework can run unmodified on any public cloud, any private cloud or a bare-metal server. This is a similar benefit to the Java “write once, run anyware” idea but is more robust and is generalized to “build anything once, run anywhere”.
  2. Speed: Start-up time for a container is around a second. Public cloud virtual machines (VMs) take from tens of seconds to several minutes because they boot a full operating system every time, and booting a VM on a laptop can take minutes. To counter this advantage, VMware has just announced (but not shipped) a technology called Fargo that clones an existing VM in a second or so.
  3. Configuration: The Docker container captures the exact configuration of a version of an application. To upgrade the application in production, the container is usually replaced with a new version, which takes a few seconds. The layers of components that go into the configuration are kept separate and can be inspected and rebuilt easily. This changes configuration management to be largely a build- time activity, so for example a Chef recipe might be used to build a Docker container, but at runtime there is no need to use the Chef services to create many identical copies of a Docker container. Used in this way, Docker removes much of the need to use tools like Cfengine, Puppet, Chef, Ansible or Saltstack.
  4. Docker Hub App-store: Docker containers are shared in a public registry at This is organized similarly to Github, and already contains tens of thousands of containers. Because containers are very portable, this provides a very useful cross platform “app store” for applications and component micro-services that can be assembled into applications. Other attempts to build “app stores” are tied to a specific platform (e.g. the AWS Marketplace or Ubuntu’s Juju Charms) or tool (e.g. the Chef Supermarket) and it seems likely that Docker Hub will end up as a far bigger source of off-the-shelf software components, and monetization opportunities.

One reason Docker is interesting is that all four answers are each individually useful, but can be used in combination. This causes cross-pollination of ideas and patterns. For example, someone might start using Docker because they like the speed and portability, but find that they end up adopting the configuration and Docker hub patterns as well.

The Docker technology is still fairly new; work is underway to add missing features, and a large ecosystem of related projects and companies is forming around it. There’s a lot of interest in the technology from the VC community, as we try to figure out whom to fund to do what, and how the story will play out in the longer term.

Adrian Cockcroft is a technology fellow at Battery Ventures.

Feature image via Flickr Creative Commons.

Bookmarked at brandizzi Delicious' sharing tag and expanded by Delicious sharing tag expander.
27 Sep 21:00

Dali Laser

Dali Laser

Submitted by: ToolBee

Tagged: gifs , lasers , mindwarp , dali lama
28 Sep 06:40

Photo ID

by Greg Ross

This is the official White House photograph of Bill Clinton. It was taken on Jan. 1, 1993. But Clinton wasn’t inaugurated until Jan. 20. Can this be said, then, to be a photo of President Bill Clinton?

To get an answer to this cosmic question, a reporter called the chairman of the New York University philosophy department, Roy Sorensen. Sorensen said yes.

“Think of it this way,” he said. “A photograph of Clinton does not need to be a photograph of the full spatial extent of his body. Just a representative part of his body will do. The same applies for temporal parts; a photograph of one stage of Clinton is a photograph of Clinton. Even a baby picture of Clinton is a picture of President Clinton.”

(From Sorensen’s A Brief History of the Paradox, 2005.)

29 Sep 06:53

There’ll Always Be an England

by Greg Ross

From the Daily Telegraph obituary of British Army major Digby Tatham-Warter (1917–1993):

Digby Tatham-Warter, the former company commander, 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment, who has died aged 75, was celebrated for leading a bayonet charge at Arnhem in September 1944, sporting an old bowler hat and a tattered umbrella.

During the long, bitter conflict Tatham-Warter strolled around nonchalantly during the heaviest fire. The padre (Fr Egan) recalled that, while he was trying to make his way to visit some wounded in the cellars and had taken temporary shelter from enemy fire, Tatham-Warter came up to him, and said: ‘Don’t worry about the bullets: I’ve got an umbrella.’

Having escorted the padre under his brolly, Tatham-Warter continued visiting the men who were holding the perimeter defences. ‘That thing won’t do you much good,’ commented one of his fellow officers, to which Tatham-Warter replied: ‘But what if it rains?’

22 Sep 02:02

You really can’t unsee this. #9gag

You really can’t unsee this. #9gag

26 Sep 20:00

victongai: A Cup of Salt Tears Victo Ngai Besides the fact that...




A Cup of Salt Tears

Victo Ngai

Besides the fact that Irene Gallo being one of the best ADs, I am always excited to work short story art there’s no way to tell what kind of subject matter will come along. 

This piece accompanies Isabel Yep’s novelette A cup of Salt Tears - an eerie yet beautiful story. You can read it here. The audiobook of IQ84 by Murakami Haruki accompanied the working of this piece, it was quite the perfect track. 

Makino’s mother taught her caution, showed her how to carve her name into cucumbers, and insisted that she never let a kappa touch her. But when she grows up and her husband Tetsuya falls deathly ill, a kappa that claims to know her comes calling with a barbed promise. “A Cup of Salt Tears” is a dark fantasy leaning towards horror that asks how much someone should sacrifice for the one she loves.” 

While I was doing research for this project, I learnt a lot of interesting facts about Kappa (河童 ”river-child”), including their obsession with shirikodama (尻子玉 "Small Anal Ball"). It’s believed that kappa lure their victims into the water and gain power by taking their shirikodama, a mythical ball said to contain their soul which is located inside the anus. Check out the amazing manga by Hokusai titled 同河童を釣るの法 (“How to fish for Kappa”).

26 Sep 17:26

Baiana é finalista em concurso de Harvard

  • Luiz Tito | Ag. A TARDE | 17.9.2014

    Com os pais, Geórgia Gabriela comemora seleção do projeto que visa combate à endometriose

"Eu já quebrei paradigmas, pois sou negra, nordestina e de uma cidade do interior. Mesmo assim consegui ficar entre os finalistas desse concurso fora do meu país. Para mim, já é uma vitória". A frase é da jovem de Feira de Santana (a 109 km da capital) Geórgia Gabriela da Silva Sampaio, 18, que participa de um concurso da Universidade de Harvard, nos Estados Unidos, junto com estudantes do mundo todo.

Foram 40 trabalhos inscritos,  16 do Brasil, sendo o dela o único da Bahia. Uma votação na internet escolheu os 15 melhores trabalhos como finalistas, o de Geórgia foi o quinto mais votado. "Foi difícil chegar até aqui, pois os trabalhos podem ser feitos em grupo ou individualmente. Estou concorrendo com alguns grupos e isso não deixa de ser um ponto a menos para mim, que estou sozinha. Mas creio que chego lá", diz a estudante.

Geórgia sonha  cursar engenharia em uma universidade no exterior. O trabalho selecionado para o concurso é a criação de um kit para diagnosticar de forma rápida e barata a endometriose, doença que atinge nada menos que seis milhões de mulheres no Brasil e 170 milhões no mundo. A ideia surgiu com a experiência obtida com uma tia, que passou pelo problema.

"Comecei a pesquisar e notei que a falta de um diagnostico precoce é que aumenta o risco da doença e de outros estágios dela. Como o sintoma principal é a dor durante a menstruação, as mulheres passam muito tempo sem procurar tratamento", disse. "A média de atraso na busca de tratamento é sete anos. Enquanto isso, a endometriose avança e pode atingir outros órgãos. O tratamento e o diagnóstico são muito caros", explica.

De família humilde, a estudante conta que desenvolveu o trabalho pensando nas pessoas com menor poder aquisitivo. Dessa forma, investiu num kit que pudesse ser barato e acessível aos serviços públicos.

Questão social

"É uma questão social mesmo. Muitas mulheres não conseguem pagar o tratamento e correm risco de piorar a situação. O objetivo é fazer algo que possa dar a elas o direito a um diagnóstico e um tratamento adequado", frisa Geórgia.

Filha do comerciante Jorge Luiz dos Santos Sampaio e da cabeleireira Sidney da Silva Sampaio, a estudante sempre se destacou nos estudos e, por esse motivo,  era sempre convidada a participar de competições estudantis.

"Ela sempre se destacou. Em toda escola que ela passava era elogiada pelos professores. Até que fez um teste para um boa escola aqui e foi selecionada entre os primeiros candidatos, ganhando uma bolsa de estudos. Temos  orgulho do caminho que está seguindo", contou a mãe.

Sem conter a alegria, Jorge Luiz lembra que a filha foi aprovada em quatro vestibulares, nas universidades Estadual de Feira de Santana (Uefs) e Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ).

"Ela não quis cursar, pois  o sonho dela é estudar fora do Brasil. Enquanto em outros lares os pais brigam para que os filhos estudem, aqui a briga é para que ela aceite cursar uma universidade aqui no país. A educação é a maior riqueza que podemos dar aos nossos filhos, e esse é o sonho dela. Então, vamos fazer o que for possível para que seja realizado", diz o pai.

Com o ensino médio concluído no ano passado, Geórgia agora se prepara para concorrer em outros vestibulares no Brasil e tentar uma vaga em universidades fora do país. "Quero fazer um curso no exterior, pela abertura maior que eles nos oferecem", diz ela.


Geórgia Gabriela destaca que pode cursar engenharia e, ao mesmo tempo, desenvolver as pesquisas ligadas ao projeto científico.

"Tentei ser selecionada em duas universidades no exterior, mas, até o momento, não consegui. Acredito que esta participação no concurso em Harvard possa ajudar de alguma forma a realização do meu sonho", assinala.

A próxima etapa da seleção é ser entrevistada por uma banca examinadora (pela internet). O resultado final deve sair na primeira quinzena de outubro. "Estamos na torcida. Amo pesquisar e é interessante me ver produzindo conhecimento. A pesquisa dá a oportunidade de criação, e isto me estimula", diz ela.


AVISO: O conteúdo de cada comentário é de única e exclusiva responsabilidade do autor da mensagem.

Bookmarked at brandizzi Delicious' sharing tag and expanded by Delicious sharing tag expander.
25 Sep 13:37

#SOMOS TODAS MULHERES DE QUEIMADAS: Relato de uma feminista que acompanhou o caso do estupro coletivo

by lola aronovich
Nem a Paraíba, nem o Brasil. Não esqueceremos

Hoje, dois anos e meio após um crime dos mais bárbaros, será julgado o principal acusado. 
Eu e todas as mulheres (feministas ou não) que conheço, e muitos homens, ficamos horrorizadas com o que aconteceu em Queimadas, cidade paraibana de pouco mais de 40 mil habitantes. Durante uma festa de aniversário, vários homens presentes vestiram máscaras, simularam um assalto, e estupraram cinco convidadas. Duas delas reconheceram os homens e foram assassinadas. 
Sete dos dez criminosos
Na época, escrevi um post sobre o caso, "Estupros como presente de aniversário", até hoje um dos mais lidos do blog. No dia seguinte, ainda arrasada com a crueldade, escrevi outro. Porque este caso é daqueles de perder fé na humanidade, ou pelo menos em metade da humanidade. Afinal, foi premeditado. Dez homens (sete adultos e três adolescentes) participaram dos crimes. DEZ HOMENS! Nenhum parou pra pensar que opa, estuprar não está certo. E não eram estranhas. Eram conhecidas, amigas!
Graças à pressão das feministas, nove dos dez criminosos já foram julgados e condenados, com penas que variam entre 26 e 44 anos de prisão para os adultos, e de até 3 anos para os adolescentes, que depois serão reavaliados. Hoje, no 1o Tribunal do Júri em João Pessoa, às 14h, é o julgamento do principal acusado, Eduardo Santos, que foi quem teve a ideia de "presentear" o irmão com estupros. 
O texto que publico abaixo, apesar de estar em primeira pessoa em alguns momentos, não foi escrito por uma só mulher, e sim por vários movimentos feministas da Paraíba. Essas ativistas não pararam de se mexer para alcançar justiça desde que o crime aconteceu, em fevereiro de 2012. Em homenagem à luta delas e às vítimas, e em nome de todxs nós que nos chocamos com a barbaridade, vamos divulgar a tag #SomosTodasETodosMulheresDeQueimadas.
Eis o texto dessas incansáveis guerreiras:

Sentar e escrever sobre o caso de Queimadas é uma tarefa no mínimo difícil para mim. Há dois anos, recém-formada do curso de Direito e ingressante nas fileiras do movimento feminista, me deparei com um crime de tamanha barbaridade que mesmo hoje custo a acreditar.
A casa da barbárie
Em 12 de fevereiro de 2012, na cidade de Queimadas no interior paraibano, dez homens premeditaram o estupro coletivo de cinco mulheres, culminando na morte de duas delas. Estes homens se organizaram com mais de uma semana de antecedência para planejar uma festa de aniversário onde simulariam um assalto e estuprariam as mulheres presentes. Este estupro foi organizado como um “presente” do principal mentor e dono da casa onde ocorreu o sinistro, Eduardo Pereira, a seu irmão Luciano Pereira.
Uma típica cena de terror. Durante a suposta festa, alguns dos presentes saem para comprar qualquer coisa; e retornam enquanto supostos assaltantes invadem usando máscaras de monstros. Foi só colocar o planejado em prática: havia sido comprado uma variedade de instrumentos para viabilizar a tortura: cordas, “enforca-gatos” etc.
As vítimas fatais: a professora Izabella
e a secretária Michelle
Ao retornarem e simularem o assalto, os criminosos -- criminosos sim porque todos eles já foram sentenciados, resta apenas o júri do mentor -– separam as vítimas dos demais “convidados”: os maridos de duas das vítimas e as mulheres dos envolvidos nos crimes. Ligam o som alto e a barbaridade acontece. Uma das vítimas se finge de morta/desmaiada e vê sua irmã ser violentada sucessivamente e depois ser raptada para ser assassinada a quilômetros dali. Duas das mulheres -– Izabella Pajuçara e Michelle Domingos -- reconhecem os agressores, e o mentor, o suposto autor, que vai a júri hoje, decide matá-las e assim o faz.
Luciano, o aniversariante, e seu
irmão Eduardo, o mentor de tudo
E como o objetivo deste texto não é trazer detalhes do caso (e podem acreditar que existem milhares de detalhes mais bárbaros do que estes poucos que mencionei), a questão é dizer que ouvir estas histórias minuciosamente, muitas vezes ouvir das próprias vítimas ou dos agressores, não foi a pior experiência que vivi em relação a este caso. O que nunca vou esquecer, e acredito que as companheiras do movimento feminista também não, é o rosto de pavor permanente das mães de Izabella e Michelle, bem como de seus familiares.
O corpo de uma das vítimas foi
deixado ao lado da igreja
O mais aterrorizante é que ainda haja em Queimadas manifestações de violência simbólica às vítimas e suas famílias. A primeira vez que ouvi falar do crime, soube dele como se as mulheres fossem prostitutas. Elas não eram. E nem cabe aqui dizer o óbvio de que tal informação é irrelevante. Prostitutas são mulheres, e portanto sujeitos de dignidade humana. Ponto.
Contudo, esses discursos justificadores da violência permanecem. As famílias das vítimas relatam que ainda ouvem que as “meninas” mereceram isso “porque eram metidas e não davam cabimento pra cara nenhum”. Então, vejamos. Nesse caso as mulheres merecem ser estupradas por serem prostitutas ou excessivamente castas!
Simona Talma, cantora do
Rio Grande do Norte
Nós, mulheres organizadas na Paraíba, desde que iniciamos nossa atuação no caso entendemos que assumir a luta das mulheres em Queimadas é gritar para os poderes públicos e para a sociedade brasileira que a cultura de estupro e a violência contra às mulheres é um problema de todas nós. Por isso, reivindicamos pela celeridade do julgamento do caso junto à Comissão Mista Parlamentar de Inquérito (CPMI) que investigava a aplicação da Lei Maria da Penha no Brasil em 2012. A intervenção da CPMI foi crucial para o apuramento rápido do caso.
Dessa forma, se comparado com outros casos, o caso de Queimadas já ruma para seu desfecho: seis dos dez homens se encontram sentenciados e os três adolescentes cumprem medidas sócio-educativas, restando apenas o júri do mentor Eduardo. A condenação desses homens pelos seus atos de violência e pelo machismo não apaga a dor nos nossos corpos e vidas, mas justiça é o mínimo que podemos exigir diante dessa monstruosidade.
Ana Alice Macedo, estuprada e
morta aos 16 anos, também em
Queimadas, PB
Infelizmente, nem todos os casos tem um desfecho “rápido”. No mesmo ano de 2012, na mesma cidade de Queimadas, houve o sequestro e estupro da adolescente e agricultura Ana Alice Macedo. O júri do acusado ainda não foi marcado. 
Se, nacionalmente, a mídia não deu publicidade ao caso, o papel dos movimentos feministas foi de mostrar ao mundo o nosso repúdio. Por isso, e tendo em vista que a auto-organização das mulheres é uma das poucas saídas para o enfrentamento da violência, estamos realizando uma campanha nacional nas redes sociais ao afirmarmos que somos todas e todos mulheres de queimadas. Além disso, hoje, dia do júri, realizaremos um ato de protesto e memória na capital da Paraíba, João Pessoa.
A juíza do caso
Um caso extremo como esse que nos deparamos é um exemplo nítido que ainda é preciso reivindicar do Estado o fortalecimento da rede de enfrentamento de violência: aumento no número de delegacias especializadas e casas abrigo, formação do Poder Judiciário para o tratamento adequado desses casos, o esforço em implementar uma educação não-sexista, assim como o cumprimento da punição de estupradores e assassinos de mulheres. 
Enquanto termino esse texto corrido, vejo na sala ao lado outras companheiras fazendo cartazes para o ato. Num deles leio: “o problema das mulheres sempre foi dos homens”. Digo mais: o problema das mulheres sempre será de toda a sociedade. A condenação dos estupradores e o desfecho deste filme do mais requintado horror nos deixa o ensinamento de que estupro coletivo jamais poderá se caracterizar como presente, já que as mulheres são sujeitos históricos e políticos, que desde a Revolução Francesa nunca mais cessaram de lutar de forma organizada. 
Enquanto existir violência contra as mulheres, construiremos enquanto militantes feministas a reivindicação de direitos entre mulheres e homens. Preencheremos as fileiras da luta social, popular e feminista de forma organizada, tendo como horizonte um mundo em que seja possível a verdadeira igualdade e a solidariedade entre os sexos, com a mesma força com que desejamos uma realidade livre de desigualdade entre classes, raças e etnias. 
Por fim, pedimos a solidariedade de todas e todos nesta emocionante campanha, que vem sendo realizada por intermédio das redes sociais. A nossa tarefa é, portanto, espalhar a hashtag #Somos Todas E Todos Mulheres De Queimadas [tudo junto] aos quatro cantos deste mundo. Deste modo jamais as mulheres de Queimadas terão as suas histórias e os seus gritos de resistência silenciados. 
Não esqueceremos: os estupradores não passarão!
Enquanto uma mulher for estuprada, seremos todas mulheres de Queimadas!
26 Sep 07:56

Sobre pássaros e predadores

by Mano Ferreira


Por Mano Ferreira

Imagine uma área do tamanho de 33 campos de futebol. Não dá pra dizer que é um terreno, é praticamente um bairro. Um bairro pobre, onde moram cerca de 20 mil pessoas*. Todas em suas casas, há pelo menos 30 anos – alguns até há 40. Esse bairro fica na divisa entre as cidades de Recife e Olinda, em Pernambuco. O nome da comunidade é sugestivo: Vila Esperança. E também há quem chame o bairro de Passarinho.

A Vila Esperança não costuma receber grandes volumes de investimentos públicos – nada que melhore significativamente a vida da comunidade -, mas a Companhia Pernambucana de Saneamento (Compesa), uma empresa estatal, já gastou R$ 2 milhões com a construção de um reservatório de água por lá.

Pois bem. Uma pessoa jurídica intitulada Indústria e Comércio de Pré-moldados do Nordeste (convenhamos, é difícil chamar isso de empresa) reivindicou a posse de toda essa área na Justiça, alegando desejo de vender as terras. O juiz José Júnior Florentino, da 12ª Vara Cível, achou o pedido legítimo e estabeleceu um prazo de 60 dias para a reintegração de posse, limite que se encerra no dia 9 de novembro.

Até a Polícia Militar emitiu parecer ao juiz informando que o impacto social da ação seria enorme e possivelmente incontrolável. Segundo o jornalista Ivan Moraes Filho, o juiz retrucou ao parecer ameaçando prender o major por desobediência.

Em entrevista ao LeiaJá, a moradora Arleide Cláudio Gomes externou sua impossibilidade de acreditar na situação: “Se pedissem a reintegração enquanto só existiam barracos, era compreensível, mas agora, depois do nosso suor para construir as casas, não dá”.

Arleide Cláudio Gomes mostra como não se deve subestimar a sabedoria dos humildes e como sempre devemos questionar o poder das autoridades. Ela entende o princípio liberal da propriedade, talvez a maior conquista da civilização ocidental, de forma muito mais profunda que o meritíssimo.

Propriedade não é o que está num pedaço de papel mofado, amassado – ou quem sabe até forjado -, distante da realidade. Já dizia Drummond: os lírios não nascem das leis. Propriedade é aquilo que é próprio às pessoas. E um pedaço de terra se torna próprio a alguém quando esse alguém mistura o seu suor e o seu trabalho com a matéria. Quando dedicamos nosso tempo e misturamos nossa vida com o espaço.

Papeis mofados só têm validade sob a força do porrete, sob o fogo do revólver, sob o mando do poder. E esse poder só serve aos que são seus próximos, oprime os que não são seus.

No Brasil, a mente patrimonialista das autoridades mostra que sequer chegou ao século XVII, mas segue impondo seu arbítrio sobre os destinos de milhares de universos humanos no século XXI. Por isso devemos ser contra toda e qualquer iniciativa privada dos ricos que for contra a propriedade privada dos pobres.

O dia 9 de novembro se aproxima e cada dia aflige aos moradores como a quem vê um penhasco se aproximando pelo desmonte da areia. Até lá, a ONG Action Aid e a advogada Mariana Vidal, representante dos moradores, estão tentando reverter a decisão na justiça. E o Mercado Popular está na torcida, com todo apoio e solidariedade.

manoferreiraMano Ferreira é jornalista, integrante do Café Colombo e co-fundador da rede Estudantes Pela Liberdade no Brasil. Tem interesse em filosofia política, comunicação, estética e comportamento. Admira a obra de Karl Popper, mas se percebeu amante da liberdade bem antes de conhecê-la, viajando além da conta num quadro de Magritte.


*Não há precisão quanto ao número de famílias atingidas pela decisão judicial. Algumas estimativas chegam a até 25 mil pessoas.

Veja também uma reportagem sobre o caso produzida pela TV Jornal, emissora local do Recife:


25 Sep 18:15

Dirtbag Zeus

by Mallory Ortberg

ZEUS: what is this
i dont like this
HERA: it's our son
that's our son, i've just given birth to him
i've named him Hephaestus--
[Zeus flings the newborn off Olympus]
ZEUS: what son
i dont see any son


ZEUS: wanna hook up
IO: aren't you married?
ZEUS: my wifes cool
we have an open thing
IO: wow
i guess ok then
[the sky darkens]
ZEUS: oh shit oh fuck
IO: what is it
ZEUS: my wife is coming
IO: i thought you said your wife was cool with--
ZEUS: shut up
i have to think
[ZEUS turns IO into a cow and casually leans against her]
ZEUS [whispering]: i am so sorry
i will change you back as soon as she leaves
HERA: what are you doing down here
[whispering] i am so sorry

Read more Dirtbag Zeus at The Toast.

25 Sep 13:28


by Laerte

25 Sep 13:56

Se você entender Aleppo, entenderá a decadência do Mundo Árabe

by Gustavo Chacra

O mundo árabe passa pela sua maior crise em séculos. Uma civilização que tanto contribuiu para a humanidade, hoje virou palco de ditaduras, guerras e radicalismo religioso. Para mim, Aleppo resume o colapso da região.

Por séculos, Aleppo foi uma das cidades mais cosmopolitas do planeta. Muçulmanos de diferentes braços do islamismo, cristãos ortodoxos, armênios, assírios e judeus coexistiam em uma cidade que por determinados períodos seria para o mundo o que Nova York é hoje. Centro comercial e cultural, foram milênios de história nesta fantástica metrópole síria.

Hoje Aleppo, depois de 10 mil anos, nunca esteve tão decadente e destruída. Um lado da cidade é controlado por rebeldes ultra radicais intolerantes ligados à Al Qaeda ou ao ISIS (Grupo Estado Islâmico ou Daesh). Do outro, um regime ditatorial laico nos moldes das ditaduras da América Central nos anos 1970.

Os judeus de Aleppo já partiram há décadas. Os cristãos, que apoiam Assad, tentam sobreviver. Mas muitos fizeram as malas e foram para a costa Mediterrânea da Síria ou para o Líbano temendo o radicalismo dos rebeldes. Os muçulmanos são massacrados pelos dois lados.

Aleppo, sinônimos de cosmopolita e multiculturalismo, se transformou em sinônimo de intolerância e destruição.

Não sei como faz para publicar comentários. Portanto pediria que comentem no meu Facebook (Guga Chacra)  e no Twitter (@gugachacra), aberto para seguidores

Guga Chacra, comentarista de política internacional do Estadão e do programa Globo News Em Pauta em Nova York, é mestre em Relações Internacionais pela Universidade Columbia. Já foi correspondente do jornal O Estado de S. Paulo no Oriente Médio e em NY. No passado, trabalhou como correspondente da Folha em Buenos Aires

Comentários islamofóbicos, antissemitas, anticristãos e antiárabes ou que coloquem um povo ou uma religião como superiores não serão publicados. Tampouco são permitidos ataques entre leitores ou contra o blogueiro. Pessoas que insistirem em ataques pessoais não terão mais seus comentários publicados. Não é permitido postar vídeo. Todos os posts devem ter relação com algum dos temas acima. O blog está aberto a discussões educadas e com pontos de vista diferentes. Os comentários dos leitores não refletem a opinião do jornalista

Acompanhe também meus comentários no Globo News Em Pauta, na Rádio Estadão, na TV Estadão, no Estadão Noite no tablet, no Twitter @gugachacra , no Facebook Guga Chacra (me adicionem como seguidor), no Instagram e no Google Plus. Escrevam para mim no gugacha